Shaping Tomorrow: BCS launches new blog

The British Computer Society’s Engineering and Technology Forum and its  Management Forum are launching a new blog looking at technology futures and their impact on society and on business.

The development is predicated on the belief that “As the development of technology continues to accelerate, our understanding of the social and organisational implications lags further behind”. It’s always been the case that technology doesn’t deliver social or competitive advantage. Changes in behaviour do deliver these, and can be facilitated by the right technology. Technology developments can provide the initial idea or the concept; but Facebook and Twitter are social phenomena with a technical foundation, and Google’s success is as much social as technical.

The FutureTech.FutureSoc initiative aims to bring the BCS’s network of IT practitioners into the debate – one which I shared in, a long time ago now, in a Methodist Church study called “Shaping Tomorrow”. This wasn’t only about IT (electronics, we called it in the early 80s); it looked at other issues, now more pertinent than ever, including energy and the environment, biotechnology, and the implications for society, for work and employment, and of course the theology of our approach. So I’ll be sharing in the debate.

Links:
• Future visions BCS, IT Now, Jan 2009
• Future Tech Blog from the BCS
• Shaping Tomorrow (Methodist Church Home Mission Division, 1981) is out of print, but there are a few Google links to reviews. If you have access to Nature you can find one at Nature 293, 251 – 251 (24 Sep 1981)

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2 responses to “Shaping Tomorrow: BCS launches new blog

  1. I personally believe that technology has reduced our social capital—the relationships that bind people together and create a sense of community. Consequences include decreased civility, loss of behavioural boundaries and increased crime. We must find ways to deal with our profound loss of social connectedness.

  2. I don’t think it’s that simple. a more profound insight into human behaviour is that people will adapt any technology for personal communications. Commercial services thought that the phone service would broadcast concerts and church services, that the French Minitel service would be for directory inquiries, and that the Internet would be for file retrieval. What proved them wrong? Interpersonal communication in every case.

    What’s bad? Geeks that sit in their connected bedrooms and forget how to communicate with real people. What’s good? New ways of “getting to know people” and, in commercial life, being able to work with people on the other side of the world without having to travel!

    My fundamental belief is that technology, per se, is (in the strict sense of the word) amoral. It is neutral. But the uses people make of it are never neutral; people, real people, make choices either consciously or by default.

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