Computers & Society

Every journey has a beginning.

This journey begins in Weimar.

—Михал Орела, Благоевград, България. Август 2008.

This book is another kind of beginning, both for writers as well as readers. In order to profit from engagement in our world-wide society, it is strongly advised to open a Wikibooks account as soon as possible and to work together for the benefit of all, freely.



Front Cover

Back Cover

Why bother about computers and society?


The title "Computers & Society" is a very old one in the computing field. The way in which the word "Computers" precedes "Society" in the title suggests that Society is seen from the point of view of those who use computers. Whereas in the past the computers were always visible, standalone, separate things, today they are also omnipresent but invisible. Good examples of such omnipresence are mobile phones, banking machines, and the "network" (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has a special interest group on "Computers & Society", abbreviated SIGCAS with the mission of addressing "the social and ethical consequences of widespread computer usage".

We want to address the issues surrounding the Computers in our Society in the age in which we live. That is to say, the subject will always be open and current and relevant. But we cannot ignore the past, the things that have happened. We need to know something of the background history to understand how we got to where we are today. With such a study we may be better positioned to have some idea of where we might be heading in the future. And we will want to make personal choices now that shape our future.