Technological Innovations and Information Technology in the Information Society
Rapid changes are taking place in Japanese industrial society as there is a shift towards service industries and the “softwarization” of them and other industries. This kind of technological shift can be described as a move from “strategic” to “tactical” technologies. These shifts are occurring because of the emergence of the new concept of the “information society”, supported by a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and information and telecommunications technologies. The move is towards networks of communication and information processing. One of the most applicable uses of AI techniques is expert systems. The changing nature of industrial society requires new skills. People now need to be multidisciplinary, i.e. to have knowledge and technical skills of information and communication technologies, along with other areas such as the human and social sciences. They also need to be able to consider the social effects and positive applications of the technologies from a humanistic perspective, because these technologies will also be applied in spheres such as medical care, administration and education. The Council of the 21st Century Industrial Basic Technology Projects states that future areas of technological development will be: biotechnology, electronics for information processing and transmission, software technologies and production processes. It is expected that the technological impacts will be felt not only in Japanese economy and industry, but also in Japanese society and culture, including distribution, welfare, leisure and so on, with possible serious effects. Industrial infrastructures, concept of production, employment structures and patterns will also face dramatic transitions. Japanese society faces great changes in the coming 21st century.
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