Healing Brain Seminar: Oct./Nov. 1989

The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge
Fall 1989 Lecture Series

Computers, Work, and Society

Computers seem to be almost everywhere today, from automatic teller machines to word processing programs. What do we know about the changes they are bringing? How will they affect your life in the next year and the next century? How are they changing employment patterns and career paths? Is work becoming more enjoyable or less? Will computer networks “dehumanize” human relationships or will they enable new kinds of social interaction? This lecture series will examine what we know and what we don’t know about questions like these. A variety of guest speakers from academia and business will discuss new findings and new ideas from research and current practice.
October 19

Mitchell Kapor
Founder, Lotus Development Corp.

Computers as Intelligence Amplifiers
October 26

Shoshana Zuboff
Harvard Business School

The Future of Work and Power in the Age of Smart Machines
November 2

Randall Davis
MIT Sloan School of Management & MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Artificial Intelligence: Present Realities and Future Prospects
November 9

Joseph Weizenbaum
MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

The Status of Knowledge in the Information Society
November 16

Michael Scott Morton
MIT Sloan School of Management

Management in the 1990’s

Monday evenings, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Harvard University Science Center, Lecture Hall D
Admission: $5 at the door

Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Center for Lifelong Learning

The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge

Program on
Computers, Work, and Society

• How will computers affect your life and our society?
• Will they eliminate your job or make it more enjoyable?
• Will they dehumanize work and education or create new possibilities for learning and social interaction?

Computers are one of the most recent in a series of technological changes that affect our lives in complex and far-reaching ways. Even though the signs of their use are almost everywhere we look today, no one really knows what the effects of computers will be. Most of the scholarly evidence so far is inconclusive and contradictory. In spite of this uncertainty, some people think that computers will have inevitable “impacts” on people—either for the good or for the bad—and that it is up to us to adapt to these impacts.

One of the central themes of this program is that we can affect how computers will influence our lives. There are many choices that we, as a society, can make about the kinds of computers we design and the ways we use them. Understanding the possibilities can help us make these choices more wisely.

The purpose of the ISHK educational program on “Computers, Work, and Society” is to help collect and disseminate information about how computers are—or can be—used, and how these uses affect people. The program includes sponsoring public lectures and distributing books and other educational materials.