Thinkwork: Working, Learning, and Managing in a Computer-Interactive Society

Thinkwork: Working, Learning, and Managing in a Computer-Interactive Society

Thinkwork: Working, Learning, and Managing in a Computer-Interactive Society

Thinkwork: Working, Learning, and Managing in a Computer-Interactive Society

Synopsis

This volume explains how advances in computer technology will augment communication in person-to-person, organizational, and educational settings. It describes the convergence of "virtual reality" and group decision support, and how these will serve educational and organizational effectiveness. Contributors--experts from business and academia--examine what the computing/communications world will look like in the near future, what the specific needs of various industries will be, and how innovations will fit into organizations and society.

Excerpt

If computers have not yet transformed your work life or lifestyle, you are in a minority among the citizens of developed nations. Technology has increased the communication and information options even of this minority. Our attitude and approach to work and leisure, the way we interact with other people, and the way we think about our careers and our unique capabilitiesall these are under assault from advancing technology. Telecommuting, video recording, voice mail, and computer-aided instruction are but a few of the innovations driving these transformations.

In earlier eras of organizational computing, central processing units had a fraction of the capability of today's PCs. The premium placed on their time and availability seems staggering, in retrospect. As a result of the scarcity of computing power, cadres of humans devoted their days to preparing inputs for computer processing, and interpreting outputs. Real-time interaction was out of the question, meaning that correcting software errors was costly in machine time and human time. Cost-effective use of the "big iron" was achieved by computerizing routine, repetitious tasks (e.g., payroll) or, in the case of scientific computing, by running computations that served the programmatic needs of teams of scientists rather than the exploratory activities of individual scientists. Long-turnaround "batch" (noninteractive) runs meant that programmers and scientists squandered the mental setup time needed to switch from one project to another, or they simply waited idly for output. An intermediate stage in organizational computing was characterized by time-sharing via dumb terminals with character screens.

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