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CS481 : Computer & Society


Dr Samia Heshmat
Assistant Professor,
Faculty of Engineering
Aswan University

email samia.heshmat@aswu.edu.eg 20th Sep. 2018


Course Description

 survey of major computer applications

 The impact on automation with the concurrent risk of
 The role of computers in simulation and modeling
Computers in business, management and the decision-
making process
 Social obligations of the computer professional
 Computer networks and the potential information utility

Course Description
 Current status of artificial intelligence including robotics,
pattern recognition, picture processing and theorem proving
 Use of computers in the medical area
 Computer in the home
 Special topics such as: privacy, electronic funds transfer and
 The role of computers in manufacturing Impact of computers
on requirements of skilled and unskilled workers.

Grading Scheme
 Week 7
 Quizzes 5%
 Assignments 5%
 Midterm 1 20%

 Week 12
 Quizzes 10%
 Assignments 10%
 Project 10%

 Final Exam 40%

“A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and
Ethical Issues for Computing
Technology”, 4th Edition, Sara

“Ethics for the Information Age”,

6th Edition, Michael J. Quinn

Outline of this Lecture
1.1 Introduction
1.2 The Pace of Change
1.3 Changes and Unexpected Developments
1.4 Adapting New Technology
1.5 Ethics
1.6 IT Issues

1.1 Introduction  Information Age
 Last 2 decades have given unprecedented access to

 Catalysts/Reasons?
 Low-cost, smaller yet powerful computers
 High-speed communication networks

Reasons for Improved Information Access

 Embedded computers (digital electronics)

 Cell phones
 Digital photography
 Email
 World Wide Web
 Social Networking
 Cloud Computing
 Internet of Things
Issues related to Technology
 Technology’s Influence
 People adopt technology and technology changes society
 Using technology can change people
 Physical changes (Laptop usage can cause back, neck, shoulder pain)
 Mental changes (Dopamine increases desire for more information)
 Psychological changes (Having a cell phone makes feel safer)

 Technologies solve problems, but may create new problems

 Automobile (Traffic Jams)
 Refrigerator (Leakage of Freon gas cause damage to Ozone layer)
 Low-cost international communication (Outsourcing of jobs)

Issues related to Technology
 Control over New Technologies
 Examples of control over adoption
 Nuclear power moratorium in United States for 25 years
 Nuclear power advances in rest of world
 Examples of control over rate at which technologies
are developed
 Intellectual property laws
 Tax structure
 This may give rise to an issue:
 Is it ethical that a life saving drug is patented and hence
expensive while it can be made less expensive and
readily available ?
Technology is continuously changing and so the issues
arising with technology change quickly as well.

Brief overview of how fast technology is changing is

presented on the next few slides

1.2 The Pace of Change
 1940s: First computer was built.

1.2 The Pace of Change
 1940s: First computer was built.
 1956: First hard-drive disk weighed a ton and
stored five megabytes.

1.2 The Pace of Change
 1940s: First computer was built.
 1956: First hard-drive disk weighed a ton and stored five

 1991: Space shuttle had a 1MHz computer. Now some

automobiles have gigahertz computers. Hubble Space
Station has a 80486 processor.

1.2 The Pace of Change
 Discussion Question

 What devices are now computerized that were

not originally? Think back 10, 20, 50 years ago.

Technology has brought good and bad changes in our
daily lives!

These technological advancements are presented in the

next few slides.

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
1.3.1 Cell Phones - Advantages
 Relatively few in 1990s. Approximately five billion in 2011.
 Used for conversations and messaging, but also for:
 taking and sharing pictures
 downloading music and watching videos
 checking email and playing games
 banking and managing investments
 finding maps
 act as electronic wallets and identification cards
 Smartphone apps for many tasks, including:
 monitoring diabetes
 locating water in remote areas
 location tracking, life-saving medical apps, surveillance
1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
Cell Phones – Dis-advantages
 Location tracking raises privacy concerns.
 Cameras in cell phones affect privacy in public and
non-public places.
 Talking on cell phones while driving is dangerous.
 Other unanticipated negative applications: rioters
organizing looting parties.

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
Do you know what a Kill switch is ?
 Allow a remote entity to delete personal files if phone
is stolen.
 In operating systems for smartphones, tablets and
some computers.
 Used mainly for security, but raise concerns about
user autonomy.
 Kills switches could remove content that infringes
 Could also be used to remove content that a company or
government deems offensive.
 What if malicious hackers found a way to operate the skill
switches on our devices?

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
1.3.2 Social Networking (Sn):
 First online Sn site was www.classmates.com in 1995
 Founded in 2003, Myspace had roughly 100 million
member profiles by 2006
 Facebook was started at Harvard as an online version of
student directories
 Advantages
 Staying in touch with friends.
 Businesses connect with customers.
 Groups organize volunteers.
 Organizations seek donations.
 Individuals pool resources through “crowd funding”.
1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments

Social Networking – Dis-advantages

 Stalkers and bullies stalk and bully.
 Your information is available to the service
provider. (Privacy issue)
 Sharing of secret or non-public information.
Jurors tweet about court cases during trials.
 Socialbots simulate humans. They can trick you in
revealing personal information that may be used by

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
1.3.3 Artificial intelligence
 A branch of computer science that makes
computers perform tasks normally requiring
human intelligence.
 Researchers realized that narrow, specialized
skills were easier for computers than what a
five-year-old does: recognize people, carry on a
conversation, respond intelligently to the

1.3 Change and Unexpected
Artificial intelligence (cont.)
 What does it mean for a computer system to be intelligent
and who has devised the test for this differentiation?
 Alan Turing, who developed fundamental concepts
underlying computer science before there were computers,
proposed a test, now called the Turing Test, for human-level
 Let a person converse (over a network) with the system on
any topics the person chooses. If the computer convinces
the human subject that the computer is human, the
computer is said to “pass”.

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
Artificial intelligence (cont.)
 Many AI applications involve pattern recognition.
 Speech recognition is now a common tool.
 Image Classification: to help visually impaired people (blind)
 CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Turing Test to Tell Computers
and Humans Apart) are used to defend against Denial of Service

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
1.3.4 Communication and the Web
 Blogs (“Web log”) began as outlets for amateurs
wanting to express ideas, but they have become
significant source of news and entertainment.
 Information in blogs may be biased and incorrect.
 Inexpensive video cameras and video-manipulation
tools have resulted in a burst of amateur videos.
 Many videos on the Web can infringe copyrights owned
by entertainment companies.
1.3.5 Telemedicine
 Remote performance of medical exams and
procedures, including surgery.

1.3 Change & Unexpected Developments
Discussion Questions
How will we react when we can go into a hospital for
surgery performed entirely by a machine? Will it be scarier
than riding in the first automatic elevators or airplanes?

How will we react when we can have a conversation and

not know if we are conversing with a human or a machine?

How will we react when chips implanted in our brains

enhance our memory with gigabytes of data and a search
engine? Will we still be human?
1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments

1.3.6 Collaboration and Technology

 Wikipedia: The online, collaborative encyclopedia
written by volunteers. (Increases knowledge and
access to information)
 Informal communities of programmers create and
maintain free software. (Easy Access to useful
tools like Open Office instead of Microsoft Office)
 Watch-dogs on the Web: Informal, decentralized
groups of people help investigate crimes. (Crime

1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments
1.3.7 E-commerce
 Amazon.com started in 1994 selling books on the Web. It has grown to
be one of the most popular, reliable, and user-friendly commercial sites.
 eBay.com facilitates online auctions.
 Traditional brick-and-mortar business have established Web sites.
 Online sales in the United States now total hundreds of billions of
dollars a year.
 Sellers can sell directly to buyers, resulting in a peer-to-peer economy.
 Customers can save time and money which researching. Ease of
 Small businesses and artists can sell directly to buyers, avoiding fees to
middlemen and distributors.

1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments
E-commerce and trust concerns
 People were reluctant to provide credit card
information to make online purchases, so
PayPal.com grew out of need for trusted
intermediary to handle payments.
 Encryption and secure servers made payments
safer (SSL – Secure Socket Layer).
 The Better Business Bureau established a Web
site to help consumers see if others have
complained about a business.
 Sites have implemented rating systems.

1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments
1.3.8 Free stuff available because of Technology
 Email programs and email accounts, browsers,
filters, firewalls, encryption software, word
processors, spreadsheets, software for viewing
documents, software to manipulate photos and
video, and much more
 Phone services using VOIP such as Skype
 Craigslist classified ad site
 University lectures

1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments
How is technology use made Free?
 Advertising pays for many free sites and services, but not all.
 Wikipedia funded through donations.
 Businesses provide some services for good public relations
and as a marketing tool.
 Generosity and public service flourish on the Web. Many
people share their expertise just because they want to.
Free stuff related Danger
 In order for companies to earn ad revenue to fund
multimillion-dollar services, many free sites collect
information about our online activities and sell it to
1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments
1.3.9 Smart sensors, motion, and control
 Motion sensing devices are used to give
machines/robots the ability to walk, trigger airbags in a
car accident
 Sensors can detect leaks, acceleration, position,
temperature, and moisture.
 Examples of Areas of Use
 Sensors in agricultural fields report on moisture, acidity,
and so on, helping farmers to avoid waste and to use no
more fertilizer than needed.

 Sensors in food products monitor temperature, humidity,

and other factors to detect potential health problems
while the food is in transit to stores

1.3 Change and Unexpected Developments
Tools for special people
 Assistive technology devices help restore independence to
people with disabilities (whom are challenged).
 Researchers are experimenting with micro-chips that convert
brain signals to control leg and arm muscles.
 A blind person can use handheld devices that combine optical-
character-recognition with a speech synthesizer to read menus
and receipts.
 Flexible, responsive prosthetic devices can now be digitally
controlled, enabling amputees to walk, climb stairs, even
participate in sports and fly airplanes.
 People can dictate documents to a word processor and give
commands to a computer to control household appliances.

be continues . . .

See you next Lecture