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What Is Information Technology? ~ 3 Little-known Definitions of IT ~

What Is Information Technology?

Hi everyone, I'm Yoshi.

In this article, I'm going to explain "What Is Information Technology?"

We often hear the word "IT," such as "IT revolution" and "IT companies." However, when you try to explain the term "IT," it can be quite difficult. When I traced the origin of the term IT, I found IT consists of 3 definitions from some management journal.

Let’s get started!

The Origin of the Term "IT"

An article in which the word "IT" was first used

The term "Information Technology" was first used in an article in management journals from Harvard Business Review published in 1958.

IT consists of three definitions

Interestingly, it states that "IT consists of 3 components." Let's look at them one by one.

Three Definitions of IT

The following are 3 definitions of IT.

  • Techniques for processing large amounts of information rapidly
  • The application of statistical and mathematical methods to decision-making
  • The simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs

Let's explain these definitions with specific examples.

1st Definition of IT

Techniques for processing large amounts of information rapidly

Harvard Business Review

The first definition of IT is "Techniques for processing large amounts of information rapidly."

For example, there will be tons of sales every day in the supermarkets.

Information Technology is a technology processing large amounts of information rapidly

To calculate the total amount of those sales, you only need to enter them into a spreadsheet. And with just a click of a button, you can easily view your daily sales and breakdowns on a bar graph or pie chart.

In other words, "A large amount of sales information was processed rapidly." So, you can say this is IT.

2nd Definition of IT

The application of statistical and mathematical methods to decision-making

Harvard Business Review

The second definition of IT is "The application of statistical and mathematical methods to decision making."

How do you decide whether or not to take an umbrella with you when you go out? You will probably be watching the weather forecast. Now, do you know how the probability of precipitation is calculated?

It is calculated as follows.

  1. Current climatic data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, etc. are collected.
  2. Then, the weather for days that had similar climatic data in the past is examined.
  3. Finally, the probability of precipitation is calculated based on that past weather statics.
How to calculate the probability of precipitation

In the case of this example, the probability of precipitation is calculated to be 80% since there were four rainy days and one sunny day in the past when the climatic data is equivalent to the present one.

Information Technology is a technology making decision through statistical data

And based on this 80% probability, you will decide to take an umbrella.

In other words, "We apply statistical data to the decision to take an umbrella from the weather forecast." So, you can say that it is IT that makes the decision to take an umbrella from the weather forecast.

3rd Definition of IT

The simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs

Harvard Business Review

The third and final definition of IT is "The simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs."

Information Technology is a technology of advanced simulation

The most obvious example is probably the video game. For example, a racing game such as Mario Kart can be said to simulate the behavior of a car by a computer program called a video game.

In other words, "The game console, or computer is highly simulating the movement of a car." So, you can think of this as another type of IT.

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Another example of "Simulation of higher-order thinking" might be AI:Artificial Intelligence, in which computers learn from data and create answers on behalf of humans.

Examples of IT Products

The Relationship between IT and Computers

You come across the word "Computer" or "Program" a few times in this article.

This means that "Information Technology," or devices that can

  • Process large amounts of information rapidly
  • Perform statistical calculations
  • Realize simulations

is effectively the only computer.

Information Technology is realized by computers

In fact, spreadsheets run on computers, the weather forecast is calculated by advanced computers, and game consoles are also a kind of computer.

Information Technology is computer related technologies

In this way, it can be read as "Information Technology is the technology associated with computers."

IT Products around You

When you hear the word "computer," you may think of personal computers. However, the following products, for example, are also equipped with computers.

  • Desktop and laptop computers
  • Smartphones
  • Servers
  • Video game consoles
  • Home appliances
  • Automobiles, trains and airplanes
Examples of IT products

Small computers, called Microcomputers, are also included in household appliances such as microwave ovens and rice cookers used in our daily lives. Besides, cars, airplanes, and other vehicles also have multiple computers embedded in them, which control the vehicles precisely.

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As you can see, IT is an essential part of our lives today, and it is a technology that we all benefit from at some point or another. In other words, IT is so important and in very high demand. In fact, IT engineers such as programmers are in increasing demand.

IT vs ICT/IoT

ICT, IoT

Finally, I'll explain the meaning of the words "ICT" and "IoT", which are similar to "IT", and how they differ from "IT".

What Is ICT

ICT

The word "ICT" stands for Information Communication Technology. It is used almost synonymously with IT, emphasizing "communication" rather than IT.

For example, to exchange messages with friends and get the latest weather forecast on your phone, you need to connect to the Internet. In this way, it is inevitable that computers communicate with the outside world today. Therefore, the term "ICT" is used to emphasize this "communication".

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I think we hear the word "ICT" less often than "IT". In fact, we rarely call an "IT company" an "ICT company".

What Is IoT

IoT

The term "IoT" stands for the Internet of Things. The term expresses the idea of connecting not only IT products such as home appliances, which have never been connected to the Internet before, but also all things to the Internet.

For example, in agriculture, sensors capable of measuring temperature, humidity, and sunshine hours can be connected to the Internet to collect this information as needed, which is useful for growing high-quality crops. In addition, home appliances can be remotely controlled by connecting to the Internet.

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These days, I've come to see products that are compatible with "Google Home" and "Apple HomeKit", which allows you to control your appliances from your phone.

Summary

Finally, I'll summarize the contents of this article by looking back. I've been explaining the term “IT" which is often-heard but the definition is not well known.

Summary

"Information Technology" is a technology that consists of the following three elements

  • Technology to process large amounts of information rapidly
  • Technology to apply statistical/mathematical methods
  • Technology of Simulation

Also, "Information Technology" is

  • Technology related to computers
  • Technology that supports your life

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Thank you for reading the article so far. In this blog, I will try to explain "Information Technology" in a way that is easy for beginners to understand.

Talk to you later!