In 1973, Kelly Gotlieb and Allan Borodin’s seminal book, Social Issues in Computing, was published by Academic Press. It tackled a wide array of topics: Information Systems and Privacy; Systems, Models and Simulations; Computers and Planning; Computer System Security; Computers and Employment; Power shifts in Computing; Professionalization and Responsibility; Computers in Developing Countries; Computers in the Political Process; Antitrust actions and Computers; and Values in Technology and Computing, to name a few. The book was among the very first to deal with these topics in a coherent and consistent fashion, helping to form the then-nascent field of Computing and Society. In the ensuing decades, as computers proliferated dramatically and their importance skyrocketed, the issues raised in the book have only become more important. The year 2013, the 40th anniversary of the book, provides an opportunity to reflect on the many aspects of Computing and Society touched on by the book, as they have developed over the four decades since it was published. After soliciting input from the book’s authors and from distinguished members of the Computers and Society intellectual community, we decided that this blog, with insightful articles from a variety of sources, was a fitting and suitable way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the book.John DiMarco has maintained an avid interest in Computing and Society while pursuing a technical career at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, where he presently serves as IT Director. He is a regular guest-lecturer for the department’s “Computers and Society” course, and is the editor of this blog.
John DiMarco, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto