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TlIE IN-FO~ATION AGE: EVOLUTION OR EVOLUTION? 53 Distinctions for Liberal Arts Colleges (Davidson, N.C.: Davidson College, 1984), pp. 27-37. 13. A good summation of the issues involved is provided in Bruce Babbitt, "The States and the Reindustnalization of Amenca," Issues in Science and Technology, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1984):84-93. Works featured in the debate include Lester C. Thurow, The Zero-Sum Society: Distribution and the Possibilities for Economic Change (New York: Basic Books, 1980); Bennett Harrison and Barry Bluestone, The Deindustnalization of America: Plant Closings, Community Abandonment, and the Dismantling of Basic Industry (New York: Basic Books, 1982); and Roben B. Reich, The Next American Frontier (New York: Times Books, 1983). 14. J. David Roessner et al., Impact of Ounce Automation or Office Workers, 4 vole., U.S. Department of Labor R&E Grant/Contract No. 21-13-82-13 (Atlanta: Georgia Tech Research Institute, 1983); Vincent E. Giuliano, "The Mechanization of Office Work," Scientific American, Vol. 247, No. 3 (Sept. 1982):148 64. 15. Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (New York: Morrow, 1980). Similar optimism about the future role of information technology is to be found in John Diebold, Making the Future Work: Unleashing Our Powers of innovation for the Decades Ahead (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984). 16. Sherry Turkle, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984) provides an interesting discussion of this point. 17. William Fielding Ogburn, On Culture and Social Change: Selected Papers, edited by Otis Dudley Duncan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964). 18. Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1934). Comments GUNNAR HAMBRAEUS Chairman Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences It is my film conviction that we are only at the beginning of a tremendous development which, in its eject on the individual and on society, will be more far-reaching than anything that we have witnessed until now. The following three facts support my belief. First, we cannot yet discern any slackening of the pace in hardware development, as illustrated in Or. Mayo's paper. This pace is in speed of operations, storage capacity, and reduction in pnce. Possibly we have not yet passed the point of inflection on the traditional growth curve. Second, we still only utilize a small fraction of the capabilities of our hardware. The reason is, of course, the lag in software production and systems architecture. Ultimately software improvements will increase the productivity of present existing computers at least 10-fold. The combined effects of machine and program development will indeed be dramatic. Third, the computer in combination with instant communications will multiply research and development productivity in all herds of science and technology. Already, data logging systems make possible the harvesting and interpretation of primary experimental data on a scale that we did not dare to
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54 MELVIN KRANZBERG dream of 20 years ago. In these vast collections of data, software can now trace connections and interdependences in a multidimensional space hitherto inaccessible to even the greatest giants of science. Hypotheses, theories, and conclusions can then be instantly conveyed to other research centers to be discussed, analyzed, and tested within days of the original new idea. Also, computer modeling can, to a certain extent, substitute for real experiments, thus further increasing the speed of discovery. The same mechanisms also influence the application of knowledge in industry. Already we have a set of tools for development, design, production planning, and technology management that do for~the engineers what numerical control and automation have already done for the worker on the factory floor. Here again, most of the opportunities are still before us. The social consequences of this evolution will be far-reaching, to say the least. The important social consequences are not only in the various aspects of a cashless, paperless, and robotized future. There is the eternal struggle, political and social, over powerful tools. If you doubt my words, just witness the Soviets, frantic efforts to put their hands on information hardware. There are also important social implications for the rights of the individual vis-a-vis society, the questions of the integrity of the individual and the manipulation of people by misuse of information technology. Information technologies carry both enormous benefits and grave dangers. We can have freedom or slavery, and a disturbing fact is that these options are poorly understood by laymen, the public, mass media, and decision makers. These issues are seldom the topic of serious discussion. I noticed with wonder the total lack of discussion on these issues in the 1984 U.S. presidential election race, and I find the same lack of interest in my own country. There is no more important task for an academy of engineering than to bring these issues into the open.