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.
--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