What are the broader societal effects of the Information Society?

General discussion of the social implication of information society. Without doubt the year 1976 was an important year for the discussion on Computers and Society. In that year Joseph Weizenbaum‟s Computer Power and Human Reason was published and IFIP‟s TC 9 on Computers and Society was founded. In this contribution we want to give a short overview of the history since then and answer the question “what lessons can be learned from the past twenty-five years?” Following a review of the vigorous debate on the development of computers in society that has taken place during that period, four main questions are raised:

  1. Is the Information Society a new phenomenon or is it a question of emphasis?
  2. Has the development led to a new revolution as never seen before, as many scientists and policy makers would have us believe?
  3. What are, in a general sense, the consequences of this evolving information society?
  4. Can information technology be controlled, and if so, what are the main instruments of control?