CSE 275: Social Aspects of Technolgy and Science - Fall 1999
Class Discussion
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6 October: Somehow we got into an energetic discussion of possible downsides to technology, with an especially heated subdiscussion of cellphones. My purpose in encouraging this was to provide illustrations of forms of argument used to support assertions about social issues in information technology. To this end, but not entirely insincerely, I tried to support the view that cellphones, in many cases, were making life more difficult, instead of always making life easier.

As a result, I would like to encourage everyone to look for material relating to this issue that could be shared with the class; for example, I was surprised to find an article about the use of cellphones in wilderness rescue operations in a newspaper, and will hand out copies in class.

It may be interesting to consider why some students would become so emptionally involved with defending the idea that technology does not have any very significant downsides.

From jimmy Yuan (jyuan@ucsd.edu)
Subject: cell phone story
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 23:35:07 -0700

Here's a web page that has a different spin to how a cell phone caused problems for one person. After reading it, it turns out that the cell phone could have been any number of items / services provided. It came across as ironic that a company providing communications technologies to the outside world didn't properly communicate necessary information amongst themselves to prevent a situation like this.



From: Joseph Goguen (goguen@cs.ucsd.edu)
To: jyuan@ucsd.edu
Subject: Re: cell phone story
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 11:05:25 -0700 (PDT)

Yes, this story has little to do with the underlying communications technology but rather with organizational problems, in this case with billing, that arise when new technologies are introduced.

-- joseph

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