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Introduction—computing and social responsibilities

By Douglas Schuler, Jonathan Jacky

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 32 No. 8, Pages 925-927

The three articles in this special section deal with computing applications that affect how people are treated in their social roles: as litigants, as employees, or as participants or bystanders in warfare. We believe that applications like these obligate their builders to consider their duties, not only to their employers or customers, but to all the people who will be affected when the systems are placed into service. These duties are the social responsibilities of computer professionals. Authors Donald erman and Carole Hafner address the social responsibility of creating a timely, affordable and just legal system. Jack Beusmans and Kären Wieckert address the social responsibilities of educators, researchers and applications programmers to consider whether their contributions to weapons technology are a positive contribution to society. Richard Ladner addresses responsibilities that society has for people with disabilities.

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