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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

A survey of attitudes toward computers


What do people really think about computers and their impact? In 1970, a study of people's attitudes in North America showed computers to be regarded as either “beneficial tools of mankind” or as “awesome thinking machines.” A recent survey taken in Australia and reported in this article, though, suggests there may have been a change in attitudes over the past decade. The Australians expressed much concern over the computer's possible disemploying and dehumanizing effects—as well as disquiet over the control computers could exercise over their lives. If these attitudes are typical beyond the shores of Australia, they could create a barrier to the widespread acceptance and application of computers around the world.

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