What is Computers and Society about? | Ronald M. Baecker

well my book is about many things in it it's about the pace and vigor and excitement of technological innovation in what I call digital technology so goes beyond computers computers are embedded and just about everything but they don't look like computers anymore so I thought digital technologies was was a better phrase it not only talks about the technology and how it's being used but it talks about three kinds of issues and implications one are social issues what kind of life are we leading what is the world like for example with cell phones everywhere and most people being so inclined that they can no longer get away from them that at any point they're liable to be called or messaged or something like that the second set of issues are of course legal and policy issues what controls for example do we want a place on the development and deployment of self-driving cars autonomous vehicles which i think is a very promising technology for the future because humans seem unable to drive safely but I also feel are being pushed too quickly by by industry by governments wanting to make their towns a testbed for self-driving vehicles and by researchers who love what might be described as the technological sweetness of researching these things and the third kind of issue are moral and ethical ones so for example what one that I'm about to blog about or I've started writing the blog post is what obligation the society have to taxi drivers municipalities which have not put strong limits on uber and lyft which applies to most municipalities and so we have the case in in New York City were eight taxi drivers and people who drive vehicles around the city like taxis in the last 15 months have committed suicide because not only has their livelihood been impacted their revenues are way less because they're now a hundred thousand over like vehicles competing with them but if they in fact bought their taxi licenses when the market value was about a million dollars and now it's two hundred thousand dollars they're below water in the same way that's if someone bought real estate at an inflated price and the market has crashed you're below water so they no longer have good ways to pay that off and so eight people have committed suicide so what what is our moral responsibility as citizens as a society for for such people the last thing I'll say about the book is that it's organized into three parts opportunities risks and choices the first six chapters are opportunities and in many cases there are exciting opportunities for how digital technologies can be used to facilitate Digital Inclusion how it can be used and is being used in education and learning medicine and health how it's being used in worn peace and politics the second set of three chapters is on risks and this deals with what are three classical topics in this field privacy safety and security and the last section deals with choices where I feel that the there's great opportunity and necessity for individuals and societies now to think about what kind of a world they want and they're there three chapters one dealing with automation and jobs one dealing with specifically with artificial intelligence and some of the issues it raises and the last chapter which is on lifestyle which really covers a lot of different topics but two very important topics in and are the nature of communications where you're always connected and some of the good things and bad things about that as well as what's happening in the digital technologies industry were industries where there's more and more corporate concentration and power in the hands of what fard manju the technology column this is called the fearsome five that raises all sorts of issues that I discuss in the book

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