Friday, December 2, 2016

An Executive Guide to the Computer Age

William Benzon, "An Executive Guide to the Computer Age." Raymond T. Yeh and Paul B. Schneck, Co-Directors, Computer Science: Key to a Space Program Renaissance: Final Report of the 1981 NASA/ASEE Summer Study on the Use of Computer Science and Technology in NASA. University of Maryland, Computer Science Technical Report Series, No. 1168, Vol. II: F-1 - F-14, January 1982.

Abstract: Computing technologies have the potential to radically transform the way we live. Such a transformation is not inevitable, nor is it necessarily good. The purpose of this paper is to place this possibility into its proper historical perspective and to consider, in a general way, how one plans for it. The first section considers the place of the "Information Age" in history, suggesting that it is the fourth major transformation in human cultural evolution. The next section develops a five-dimensional metaphor outline certain basic factors which may be considered in a strategic plan for the use of computing technology. The final section discusses a specific aspect of that planning – the relationship between computing and productivity – and suggests that the transforming power of computing technology lies in the possibility of dramatically increasing productivity as intelligent computer becomes routine and reliable.

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