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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Computers and society: a proposed course for computer scientists

The purpose of this paper is to describe a course concerned with both the effects of computers on society and the responsibilities of computer scientists to society. The impact of computers is divided into five components: political, economic, cultural, social, and moral; the main part of the paper defines each component and presents examples of the relevant issues. In the remaining portions the possible formats for such a course are discussed, a topic by topic outline is given, and a selected set of references is listed. It is hoped that the proposal will make it easier to initiate courses on this subject.

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