A Familial Perspective on micro-computer communications

Year Published:  1983  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2818

Abstract:  This position paper, also available in French, has two objectives (1) to increase understanding of the electronics revolution and of the potential both positive and negative, that this revolution can have for persons, families, and communities; and (2) to encourage people to become more personally involved in a discriminating fashion. The paper includes an overview of the communication environment, a discussion of the applications and implications of microelectronics, and of the potential for social change inherent in this technology.

The Institute argues that persons, families and communities have the potential to affect the use of micro-computers on a variety of levels. Micro-computers can be put to uses beyond the limited functions for which they have been pre-programmed in the workplace, at school, in institutions, and or home. The inherent flexibility of the technology allows for human creativity and initiatives if the context permits and encourages such input. The scale, cost, and nature of the technology provide an opportunity to use micro-computer systems outside of the mass workplace (eg. at home). This area of informal usage is, in the Institute's view, a crucial one, for its is here that the seedbed for potential change lies. The main characteristics of work carried out as informal activities are: the work is self-defined, self-scheduled, self-managed, skill intensive, non-capital intensive, non-fuel intensive, non-resource intensive, and self or group reliance intensive. The paper concludes that people need not be passive recipients ofth consequences of the micro-computer, but may influence and shape the change that microelectronics introduce.

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