The postindustrial revolution is defined by computer technology. Since 1950, a third technological transformation has been unleashed by the development of the computer. The crucial technology of a postindustrial age concerns information. Computer technology forms the core of an Information Revolution. And, just as the Industrial Revolution did, the Information Revolution is now generating a host of new, specialized occupations.
From a worker’s point of view, in the same way that the acquisition of technical skills held the key to success in the past, now workers must enhance their literacy skill as that is valued in the marketplace. The economic reality is that people unable to speak, write, or otherwise communicate effectively face declining economic opportunity. Computer technology has reduced the role of human labor in production. But to those that are able to rise to the challenge of the Information Age, however, the coming decades will bring new opportunities.
The information Revolution is changing not just what people do but where they do it. The last economic revolution centralized the work force in factories, a pattern demanded by energy sources and the enormity of the new machinery. Today, however, consultants, salespeople, architects, writers, and other employees in “new cottage industries” can work virtually anywhere so long as they are equipped with computers, facsimile (fax) machines, electronic notebooks, and other new information devices that are increasingly lightweight and portable.
Today’s more educated and skilled workers also no longer require-and often do not tolerate – the close supervision that marked yesterday’s factories. Further, the Postindustrial economy, a productive system based on service work and high technology is by nature an ongoing process.
Henslin, James M. (2006). Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach, Core Concepts (2nd ED). New York: Allyn & Bacon.