Computerization and Controversy, Second Edition: Value Conflicts and Social Choices

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9780124150409: Computerization and Controversy, Second Edition: Value Conflicts and Social Choices
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The Second Edition of Computerization and Controversy: Value Conflicts and Social Choices is a collection of 78 articles that examine the social aspects of computerization from a variety of perspectives, many presenting important viewpoints not often discussed in the conventional literature. A number of paired articles comprise thought-provoking head-on debate. Fields represented include computer science, information systems, management, journalism, psychology, law, library science, and sociology.
This volume introduces some of the major controversies surrounding the computerization of society and helps readers recognize the social processes that drive and shape computerization.
Division into eight provocatively titled sections facilitates course planning for classroom or seminar use. A lead article for each section frames the major controversies, locates the selections within the debates, and points to other relevant literature.

Key Features
* A fully revised and updated version of the first anthological treatment of the subject
* Organized to facilitate course planning for classroom or seminar use
* Provides coverage of the influence of computers on a wide variety of fields including computer science, information systems, management, journalism, psychology, law, library science, and sociology
* Includes discussion of the following issues related to computerization:
* Does computerization demonstrably improve the productivity of organizations?
* Should computer systems be designed to empower workers?
* Does electronic mail facilitate the formation of new communities, or does it undermine intimate interaction?
* Is computerization likely to reduce privacy and personal freedom?

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Review:

How computers will change the world, both technologically and socially, has been the subject of many debates. This collection of essays doesn't try to predict the changes; instead, it clarifies the areas of controversy and brings up a range of possible futures rather than one predicted future. Rob Kling and his contributors ask their thought-provoking questions in eight sections.

The first provides an overview of the controversies and offers a variety of analogies for the computerization of society. The second section covers the hopes of technological utopianism, while the third examines the economic, cultural, and organizational impact of computers. Kling devotes the fourth section to how computers transformed and will continue to transform the workplace. Part 5 covers social relationships in electronic forums and part 6 addresses privacy and social control issues. The seventh section looks at computer system safety and how both systems and their users may be vulnerable to attack. The concluding section concerns itself with the ethical and professional responsibilities of those involved with the future of computing.

Many of the essays take opposing sides of various questions. For example, in "The Electronic Hive: Embrace It," Kevin Kelly persuades readers that an interconnected networked society leads to richer human relationships. Sven Birkerts follows up with "The Electronic Hive: Refuse It," offering a counterdemonstration of how the same networking could lead to a society of shallower relationships. Similar debates appear over such topics as whether a computerized workplace will ultimately empower or further enslave workers and whether Internet developments will lead to greater personal freedom or a whittling away of our privacy. While there are no easy answers, Kling's collection of essays is a fascinating look at the issues surrounding the computerization debates.

About the Author:

For approximately two decades, Rob Kling has written extensively about the interface between computerization and real society and culture. The emphasis here is on the impact of computerization on organizations (especially corporations) , rather than on individuals within a society as a whole. The eight parts of this book provide a general overview of mental models, technological utopianism and dystopianism, economic and organizational dimensions, the work environment, social and personal relationships, privacy and social control, safety and vulnerability, and ethical perspectives and professional responsibilities. Each introduction concludes with a very useful list of the sources where the anthologized chapters can be found along with a list of references for other publications cited in Kling's introductions and items for further reading. It seems to be written primarily for an undergraduate readership, but could teach and delight graduate students, teachers, information professionals, and the common reader.

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