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Technology and Society, 1997. 'Technology and Society at a Time of Sweeping Change'. Proceedings., 1997 International Symposium on

Date 20-21 June 1997

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  • 1997 International Symposium on Technology and Society Technology and Society at a Time of Sweeping Change. Proceedings

    Publication Year: 1997
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Index of authors

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): viii
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Eco-efficient technology

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 1 - 7
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    The linear, open system of industrial development-`produce/use/throw away'-is unsustainable even if it is restricted to the existing industrialised countries. If an attempt is made to spread it globally, it would not only be environmentally disastrous, it would also have severe economic and social consequences. Since the early 1970's, the Indices of Sustainable Economic Welfare of the UK, the US and Germany have all been in decline despite increases in the GNPs, as the negative effects of growth have exceeded the beneficial effects. The main causes of this unsustainability are described, pointing to the necessity of adopting a circular, closed system of development that is waste and pollution minimising. In such a mode of development, service systems will aim for optimum resource efficiency by using eco-efficient technologies. Guiding concepts for application of eco-efficiency are illustrated, together with an outline of the Lifecycle Inventory method of product, package and integrated waste management View full abstract»

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  • The impact of space technology on society

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 139 - 147
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    Space technology and the images it has created are credited with having a significant impact on society. In the 1960s, society was undergoing a period of tremendous change, when to be `modern' was de rigeur. Space exploration was a superlative symbol, a cultural icon of the sixties, and it became a driving force for change within the putative consumer society. Space Age images have been used, particularly in advertising and entertainment, for the past four decades-a trend that seems likely to continue. But it is the application of space technology itself-in communications, navigation, remote sensing and meteorology-which has had the greatest, and often overlooked, impact on society. The paper investigates how space technology and the use of Space Age images has developed since the early days of space exploration, and to what extent they are still a part of our culture View full abstract»

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  • Academic engineering research at a time of change: the tilt towards industry

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 226 - 234
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    A study is being performed of university based engineering research contributions to industry in the United States. Preliminary results from telephone interviews with academic engineering researchers who reported that their research had led to major developments in industry, and with their industrial counterparts, indicate a variety of research activities related to industrial needs, a number of tangible, industrially oriented outcomes from the research, multiple modes of university industry research involvement and benefits to students who participate. The results presented in the paper provide evidence that academic engineering researchers are substantially involved in commercialization activities and in making contributions to industry in a variety of ways View full abstract»

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  • Information warfare: radar in World War II as an historical example

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 92 - 99
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    Emerging technologies have increased the capability to acquire and use data as a weapon in warfare. Although aggregated under a common term, information warfare actually represents a variety of different ways with different actors in different environments that information can be used as part of an arsenal. One important form of information warfare is decision making (or OODA-loop) warfare, in which a defender or attacker uses information acquisition or processing technology to complete their decision making cycle quicker than an opponent can to maintain the initiative in the battle. Such a type of information warfare was used during the Battle of Britain in World War 2. Radar was an enabling technology that gave Great Britain an edge in the decision making process that contributed to England's ultimate victory in the battle View full abstract»

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  • Telepresence-the technology and its economic and social implications

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 118 - 124
    Cited by:  Papers (4)  |  Patents (9)
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    Telepresence is the experience of being present at a real world location remote from one's own immediate physical environment. This is much more than simple teleconferencing since it attempts to allow the user to feel immersed in the remote environment and to be able, through teleoperation, to manipulate or control remote events. By using the Strathclyde Transparent Telepresence Research Group and the Strathclyde Telepresence System as examples the paper considers the organisation and technology that makes a telepresence system possible. It examines the current limitations of such systems and their eventual potential. The typical applications, present and future, of telepresence systems are noted before going on to discuss the economic and social implications of these applications. The paper is intended to stimulate further thought on possible future advantages and disadvantages of this emerging technology View full abstract»

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  • Towards equilibrium engineering

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 165 - 174
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    Until thoughtful people work together to produce a vision of a world in which humanity lives in permanent stable equilibrium with the ecosphere we shall continue to destroy it. The contribution required from engineers to this stable system is vitally important because there are far too many people in the world for us to emulate the nomadic societies that lived in stable equilibrium for thousands of years without engineering. Moreover the human needs for education, science and culture are vital. Hence we have to develop an “equilibrium engineering” that will enable 8 billion people to have the opportunity to earn all the benefits of the industrial revolution in permanent dynamic equilibrium with the ecosphere. The paper develops guidelines for the use in `equilibrium engineering' of electricity and other forms of energy for domestic, industrial and transport purposes View full abstract»

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  • Patenting biotechnology: ethical and philosophical issues

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 194 - 199
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    Every week seems to bring a new biotechnology and hopeful predictions of new treatments for disease. The greatest hope is in genetic engineering, using techniques of genetic manipulation to eliminate genetic diseases and create improved crops and farm animals. But some see clouds on this rosy horizon and warn us of dangers that will accompany them. Allowing for-profit companies to patent particular genetic manipulations raises many ethical, legal, and policy questions and has generated much critical comment in the United States and Europe. The main areas of concern are: a) negative environmental consequences, b) harm to humans who consume transgenic foods, c) abuse of animals, and d) misuse of human genetic engineering. In a general discussion on issues associated with patenting genetic technology, the author selects some of the major concerns, explores the deeper philosophical assumptions that underlie them, and discusses their implications for patenting genetic technology View full abstract»

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  • Raw materials-why should they ever run out?

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 181 - 184
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    Modern technology is leading to great economies in the use of raw materials so that yesterday's shortages no longer exist. Some years ago, there was so much copper in electronic devices and communication links that supplies ran short. Now we use very small quantities of silicon, which is one of the most abundant elements on the Earth's crust. Millions of integrated circuits and the expected world expansion in personal communications will have a negligible impact on world resources. Other examples taken from energy and transport show a similar trend. It appears that, as we learn more, and engineers become more expert at making use of what we have, so our needs change and yesterday's shortage becomes today's abundance. Engineers can help this happen. Unnecessary restrictions on the use of raw materials, in the mistaken belief that they are going to run out in a few years time, is a mistake. Let us concentrate on making the best use of all the resources and raw materials available in the most efficient way, so as to make a world providing a good standard of living for all its population View full abstract»

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  • Can courts “force” technological discovery to occur?

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 313 - 321
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    In determining our social relationships to the natural world, we assume that between the natural and social, the natural can determine and resist the social, but not vice versa. Furthermore, in pluralist cultures, we allow the legal aspects of our social world to determine the moral aspects. Consequently, if something is legal, it is therefore good. Where does technology fit into this presumed linear pattern of assumptions? Technology is a manifestation of the social world and the social world's relationship to the natural world, and is not solely a manifestation of the natural world. In fact, the limitations of the natural world are far removed from our ultimate technological practices. Therefore, “forcing” technological discovery to occur means constructing a norm about our relationships with each other and the natural world. The resistance to that force is social, not natural View full abstract»

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  • Watching, welcoming, and analyzing cyberspace

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 125 - 128
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    The paper begins to ask questions regarding analysis of the effects of information technology on society. An interdisciplinary analysis is called for, but equally important is the need for dialogue that spans geographic, academic, and experiential borders View full abstract»

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  • The roles of stakeholder- and peer-review at the OTA

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 157 - 164
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    The paper shares preliminary findings of a survey of participants in studies by the recently disbanded U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. The focus of the survey is on efficacy of the review-intensive study process used at that agency. The findings confirm the value of this process, but with important caveats, and suggest useful strategies for performing “communicative” analysis View full abstract»

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  • Technology and the evolution of man-what of the future?

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 185 - 190
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    Modern man evolved slowly over millions of years and is unlikely to develop further in the short term. In his present form it appears the current pace of technologically inspired social change is more than man can adequately control; three examples illustrate this. The future will therefore be determined either by nature itself or by man if he can find the will and the institutional framework to slow the pace of change to one he can comfortably handle View full abstract»

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  • The future of electronic commerce: implications for businesses, governments and societies

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 244 - 253
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    How electronic commerce (EC) develops into and through the first decade of the next millennium will dramatically affect economic, political and cultural life. The paper reports the results of a high level debate on the future of EC in Europe which was held in November 1996 in Windsor, England, and further discusses the implications of these possible alternative paths for the future on business organisations, governmental bodies and the overall society View full abstract»

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  • Intellectual property in cyberspace-what technological/legislative tools are necessary for building a sturdy global information infrastructure?

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 66 - 74
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    In order to accommodate the increased Internet traffic of the past several years, the infrastructure of the Internet has grown, and has subsequently become more and more complex. The technological subtleties of expanding the Internet are not the only nor even the greatest problems associated with the growing cyberspace population, however. More troubling (to the Internet pioneers and purists) are the different visions these new Internet users have for the building of the global information infrastructure of the future. Businessmen, politicians, and entrepreneurs see in the Internet the potential for a rapid-fire global marketplace; but in this digital world, content would have to be tightly controlled. This is a world far different from the highly unregulated infant Internet, in which the free-flow of information was of fundamental importance. There is now a palpable tension, therefore, between the users and the providers of information on the Internet. The providers require measures to protect their property and users desire, at the very minimum, “fair use” of the content they download from the Internet. Aside from a few militant Internet aficionados, most people agree that some regulatory devices should he implemented in order to protect intellectual property on the Internet to some extent. How then, can intellectual property owners assert some control over their property in the digital world without impinging upon users basic rights? There are two main ways by which owners can hope to exert some control over their property on the Internet View full abstract»

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  • Technology and society: how information and communication technologies can enhance the lives of persons with a disability

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 235 - 243
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    Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can enhance the lives of people with a disability (who number over 500 million worldwide). For the information technology (IT) industry, there is an incredible potential to do more to adapt to this global market. The kinds of technologies that are useful to people with a disability are also useful to society as a whole. Designing for all kinds of people, whether able bodied or disabled, is simply good design. The paper's message is that universal design is do-able. To create this change in perception, we need to work with positive images of disabled people and to influence the attitudes of everyone working in the IT industry: from higher level managers and decision makers, to computer scientists, information and communications specialists, and systems designers and developers. Working within our professional associations and within the scope of changing legislation can both help in this regard. The cost of ignoring the potential offered to our communities and societies by involving disabled people in them, and the role that IT can play in this, is a price that cannot be allowed View full abstract»

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  • Outcomes, proxies and standards: performance-based environmental management approaches within arbitrary (political) boundaries

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 322 - 328
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    Trends toward devolution and performance based environmental regulation represent the simultaneous change of two major policy variables. This poses a major challenge to the policy maker and the policy analyst alike. Although there are strong arguments suggesting caution in implementing either of these changes, given that they are happening, there is a very real need to find state level environmental indicators that are credible, representative, independent and comparable. Finding and using such indicators will mean the difference between indeterminate change in and improvement of environmental regulation in the US under the National Environmental Performance Partnership System View full abstract»

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  • Engineering as a political activity

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 18 - 23
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    Because the practice of engineering authoritatively reshapes the world, it deserves to be seen as a public and political activity. If technology is a form of legislation, are engineers the legislators or do they occupy some other political role? Because engineering in the 20th century has served some social interests much better than others, might those who have been disadvantaged reasonably construe engineers as their political opponents? What constraints face engineers individually and collectively in attempting to reconsider and retarget beliefs and actions bearing on their work as technological decision makers? View full abstract»

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  • The era of telepresence: global village and “media slums”

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 269 - 277
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    Telepresence is the generic term for a set of activities performed from a distance through the use of telecommunication means. It refers to working (telecommuting), playing, providing and using services (telemedicine, teleshopping), teaching and learning (teleeducation).-from a distance. The dialogue presented in the paper between a “True Believer” and a “Devil's Advocate” helps to explore some social implications of telepresence, particularly the emergence of new global village lifestyles, against the development of “media slums” View full abstract»

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  • Developing ethical practices to minimise computer misuse

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 219 - 225
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    Various researchers have suggested the need to develop sound ethical information technology practices to combat the increased incidence of computer misuse. Relating to the ubiquity of information technology, the paper presents a basis to understand the nature of computer misuse. Such an analysis will help in developing ethical practices so as to minimise computer misuse. Finally, the paper argues that by addressing ethical issues at both formal and informal levels, the risks associated with information technology usage can be minimised View full abstract»

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  • Women, the doctorate, and equity in engineering education

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 82 - 91
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    A common explanation for the under-representation of women in faculty appointments in science, mathematics and engineering (SME) fields is that women drop out of graduate school without completing their degrees and thus are under-represented among those qualified for such appointments. The study explores both the empirical validity and textual sources for this explanation. An analysis of enrollment and graduation records for three cohorts entering graduate school at North Carolina State University from 1985 to 1987 for ten departments casts doubt on the notion that there are gender differences in completion rates. Close scrutiny of the literature often cited in support of claims about women's attrition reveals that such claims are not based on contemporary research findings. The study concludes that graduate attrition may no longer be key to understanding the under representation of women among science, mathematics, and engineering faculty. A better explanation may come from understanding how a later stage of training, the postdoctoral position, presents a new structural barrier to women's career advancement in SME fields View full abstract»

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  • Productivity and economic performance of information technology

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 261 - 268
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    The paper examines what economists have said about the problematic assumptions of the productivity concept and their critiques of the difficulties involved in using it to make performance evaluations. We endeavor to show the complexity of using the productivity concept to evaluate the performance impact of investing in information technology. This critique is directed toward economists and managers who do not really understand the empirical limitations of the productivity concept. It may also be useful to economists and managers who, although aware of these limitations, hope that through careful analysis, the empirical difficulties can be overcome View full abstract»

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  • Technologies of representation's relation to public opinion regarding the use of military force

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 50 - 57
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    The dysfunctional aspects of television news media's reporting on war can usefully be thought of as originating the simulation and virtual presence technologies with which the news media gather and construct the news in the first place. Some characteristics of those technologies are discussed and the limitations of each's capability to represent events is tied to the common complaints about the TV reporting on war either being to sanitized or too sensational for it to usefully inform public discourse about the appropriate use of military force View full abstract»

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  • Information technology cultures and women's lives

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 75 - 81
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    The paper discusses the need for building theoretical positions in relation to gender and information and communications technologies (ICTs), particularly in regard to women's use of these technologies. It criticizes “common sense” views of the perceived problem of women's participation in computing, and goes on to suggest that attention to four, as yet under-researched areas, may provide the means of establishing an appropriate theoretical stance. These research programmes are women's employment, women as users, women and cyberculture, and feminist approaches to systems development View full abstract»

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