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Computerization and Controversy, Second Edition: Value Conflicts and Social Choices 2nd Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0124150409
ISBN-10: 0124150403
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.

Review

"Computerization raises social, ethical, and moral questions--crises of values--in regard to privacy, intellectual property, governance, identity, social control, and education. This 945-page book collects the best research,theory, and journalism on technology and ethics Ive seen. Its numerous case histories go beyond the abstractions of armchair theory."
--Howard Rheingold, in WIRED
"Estimations, evaluations, and predictions of the effects of computerization on society have the polarizing force of religious differences...This book attempts to bring this complex, highly-charged conflict into the light of day and open examination. It succeeds admirably...Rob Kling serves as the editor, and he knows whereof he edits...The book achieves its overall purpose very well...Overall, this is a very well-executed anthology."
--Thomas A. Peters, University Libraries, Northern Illinois University, in THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE
"These essays raise important questions on how computers are transforming our jobs and social and professional relationships, threatening our privacy and much more."
--L.R. Shannon, The New York Times
"A collection of 47 previously published articles from diverse sources, presented in seven sections: the dreams of technological utopianism, economic and organizational dimensions of computerization, computerization and the transformation of work, social relationships in electronic communities, social control and privacy, security and reliability, and ethical perspectives and professional responsibilities. The editors provide a general introduction and detailed introductions to each section."
--SCITECH BOOK NEWS
"...a collection of thoughtful and critical views...Dont miss this highly recommended and thought-provoking book."
--David Bellin, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn SOCIAL SCIENCE COMPUTER AND REVIEW
"...the readings are well-chosen and the package is skilfully [sic] weaved together for teaching purposes. Each of the seven sections opens with a short analytical essay identifying the major issues to be covered and places the following articles in their theoretical and empirical context. It is an impressive text..."
--Tom Forester, THE AUSTRALIAN
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 961 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 2 edition (March 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0124150403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0124150409
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,619,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JACQUELINE CALHOUN on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Rob Kling has created a seven-part book of issues that surround the integration of technology into businesses and education. He validates his beliefs with case studies and testimonials from experts in their respected areas. Kling begins each chapter with a very thorough overview of the section.
Don't let the size of the book intimidate you; the material is well prepared and easy to read. My advice is to pick and choose chapters and sections within those topics that are of interest to you. Keep in mind that a lot of the material in the book is "out dated", which caused me some cognitive frustration. The book was written in 1996 and I surmise from the preface that it was conceived in the early '90's. Topic titles are revenant to Computerization and Controversy but the case studies are only useful as a historical prospective.
JCalhoun
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben P. Meredith on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
With the dawn of the Information Age waning and social, economic and political changes underway, Robert Kling's anthology adds form and character to the futurist, anthropological debate of what will happen to us now.
In an impressive and hefty volume, Kling et.al. questions the ramifications of eight areas of human interaction; areas as varied as privacy, social control, human relationships, work, and human interaction. In this examination, Kling provides a depth of discussion that will overwhelm the technology neophyte. For those in the industry or for the more advanced casual user, this volume will fill in holes of knowledge that guarantee to stimulate deeper appreciation for the changes underway in our society.
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Format: Paperback
Rob Kling's Computerization and Controversy offers a vast and diverse range of perspectives about the social effects of computerization in the future. This compilation of 78 essays was published in 1996, making the material somewhat dated. Nevertheless, the authors showcased in this anthology are insightful and visionary and much of their commentary is still relevant today, despite the fact that everything is not exactly as they had projected. The burning issue endures: What is the social cost of computerization? The book does not answer this question, but equips the reader with lots to consider. The readings in this anthology address not only the way that computerization affects society, but also how society shapes computerization.
This collection is divided into 8 sections. The first section is authored entirely by Kling and sets the stage for the other sections that follow. In it, he poses questions about the ability of computerization to make life easier. His essay entitled "The Seductive Equation of Technological Progress with Social Progress" speaks to the theme of the entire book. Technology can both help and hinder social interactions. By juxtaposing contrary opinions on the effects of computerization on education, work, business, government, privacy, economics, and science, he provides a text that is comprehensive in scope and perspective.
Computerization and Controversy is less of a "futures" book, and more of a "history" book - evidence of where we have been in our thinking about the effects computerization on society. It is poignant evidence of how quickly society is changing as a result of technology and computerization. One essay, by Anne Okerson, outlines the future of the Electronic Journal.
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Format: Paperback
A classic work concerning the controversy surrounding the computerization of society, this tome reflects the thinking of many experts in the field. Editor Rob Kling introduces each section of the books with summaries of arguments on both sides of each question. Now in its second edition, the book explores mental models, utopias, dimensions of computerization, the transformation of work. Social relationships, privacy, safety, and ethics. While this book provides a solid foundation in the studies of computerization, its age is slowly diminishing its usefulness. Using 2000 as a benchmark to measure progress makes the word seem obsolete even though many of the questions posed are important ones.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sqrpeg@box.net on June 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Pragmatists may be put off by the academic tone and somewhat dated content. This book has earned a valued place on the top heap of my bookshelf.
I connot believe there are no other substantial comments here. This is a great 'bathroom book' in that you can open it at will and read for an arbitrary amount of time. You will be rewarded and if you have any web sense, you can follow up on events subsequent to the time these snapshots were taken. If you are curious as to why I am so positive about the book, email me. -jim
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Computerization and Controversy, Second Edition: Value Conflicts and Social Choices
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