issue 162 - August 1986
Concerned scientists in many countries want to see the fruits of
their labours put to more constructive use. And there are many computer
experts and enthusiasts who want to help community and action
groups to exploit the new technology. Here are just a few.
Australians for Social Responsibility In Computing, School of Maths and Physics, Macquane University, North Ryde 2113. Tel: (02) 88-9160. Contact Graham Wrightson. Branches in each state. Runs seminars and helps share information on subjects like computer reliability in nuclear war, job losses and ‘Australia card’.
Computers In Society, Department of Commerce, Australian National University, Canberra 2600. Contact Roger Clarke, Reader in Information Services. Similar activities to the group above.
Compuskill, 496 Bunnerong Road, Matraville 2036. Tel: (02)694-1033. A community-based groupwhich provides training for the unemployed. Runs a consultancy service and works for community and welfare groups.
Canadian Students Pugwash, Suite 805, 151 Sister
Street, Ottawa KiP 5H5. Tel: (613) 238 7571.
Organization of science students which organizes an
annual conference on science and peace.
Engineers for Nuclear Disarmament, Box 558, Station Z, Toronto M5N 2Z6. Box 1139, Station A, Vancouver D6C 2T1. Tel: (604) 420 6236. Focuses on the Canadian investment in Star Wars.
Input, Box 248, Station B, Ottawa Ki P 6C4. Tel: (613)230 6678. Also chapters in Montreal and Toronto. An organization for computer professionals and scientists - see article. Produce a good newsletter INPUT/OUTPUT - $l0 a year for four issues. Planning a peace bulletin board.
Scientists for Peace, University College, University of Toronto, M55 lAl. Tel: (613) 238 7571. Run education programmes about the involvement of science in militarism.
Computer People for the Prevention of Nuclear War, P0 Box 2, Lincoln College, Canterbury. Contact Barbara Leonard. Aims to inform people that the computer systems at the heart of nuclear weapons are inherently unreliable.
Engineers for Social Responsibility, 105 Wilton Road, Wellington. Its purpose is to make informed technological contributions to debate and actions on major current issues.
Scientists Against Nuclear Arms, Physics Department, University of Auckland Private Bag, Auckland. Aims to educate people about creative and peaceful applications of science and technology as well as their destructive uses.
Black Chip, 55 Dupont Road, London SW20 8EH. Anarchist magazine about the social implications of computers. Informative, entertaining and good value for £3 a year (four issues). Highly recommended. Contact Richard Alexander.
British Unemployment Resource Network, c/o CAWTU, 318 St Paul’s Road, London Ni 2LF. Tel: 01 359 8403. Contact: David Hopson. Founded five years ago to distribute information for the unemployed on matters such as DSS rules, YTS and benefits. It has now re-emerged as an electronic communications network based on home computers. Supported by Church Action with the Unemployed.
British Society for SocIal Responsibility In Science, 25 Horsell Road, London N51XL Tel: 01 607 9615. A group of scientific and technical workerswho believe that science is not neutral and cannot be separated from
politics. Committed to fighting for the use of science and technology for the benefit of working people. Publish quarterly Science for People magazine.
Community Computing Network, c/o LITRU, 68 Chaiton Street, London NW1 1JR. Tel: 01 388 0241. Contact: Pete Rowan. This Is made up of local groups and Individuals around the UK who help community groupa with computers - as well as promoting the socially responsible use of new technology and and providing an education forum for those interested in the wider implications.
Electronics for Peace, Townsend House, Green Lane, Marshfield, Chippenham, Wilts SN1 4 8JW. Contact Tony Wilson. A network which links electronics engineers, computer scientists and others concemed about the military domination of electronic technology. It acts as a bridge between the electronics industry and the peace movement and has just launched an employment agency for scientists who do not wish to do military work £5 per year minimum subscription which includes newsletter.
Microsyster, Wesley House, 70 Great Queen Street, London WC2. Tel: 01 430 0655. A feminist group which gives training and advice to individuals and groups on the use of computers and programs. Women only.
POPTEL, Soft SolutIon, 25 Downham Road, London Ni 5AA. Tel: 01 249 2948. A federation of groups and individuals committed to putting the power of computer-based communications into the hands of a much wider range of people - and ending the monopoly of big business, govemment and the military.
There is a vast number of such groups in the US North American readers are recommended to get the Reset directory (see below).
Computer Prefeeslonals for Social Responsibility, P0 Box 717, Stanford CA 94305. Tel: (415) 322 3778. Chapters nationwide. An organization concemed about society’s use of computer technology - particularly in the arms race.
Reset, 90 East Seventh Street, No 3A, New York NY 10009. Tel: (212) 254 3582. Contact Mike McCullough. An irregular but highly recommended newsletter on activist and grasaroot computing. $1 an issue. Sep 1965 issue includes a comprehensive directory of aitemative computing groups.
Tecnica, 1227 Fourth Street, Santa Monica CA 90401.
Tel: (415)674 7768. In New York call (212) 427 0634
Organizes visits to Nicaragua for qualified computer
personnel who can give technical assistance.
ECONET, do Farallones institute, 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental CA 95465. Tel: (707)874 2441. Contact: Christian Stalberg. Runs a series of bulletin boards on subjects like agriculture, housing and international development - as well as a mail system linking many(mostly North American) agencies and action groups.
GeoNet, do Mitrs, 17 Msckeson Road, London NW3 2LU. Tel: 01 267 0188. The GeoNet international mailbox system can be accessed by computer from most of Europe at local call rates and from Australia and New Zealand by relatively inexpensive data lines (for Canada it would bechesperto use ECONET). GeoNet gives access to Green-Net which is a network providing advanced electronic communications facilities at subaidised rates to groups in environmental and development issues. Members have access to a number of databases and services for the environment Works closely with the Interdoc network for International NGOs as well as Poptel (see above). Can also be used to link to ECONET.
Worth reading on... NEW TECHNOLOGY
The Tuming Point by Fritjof Capra. Simon & Schuster, 1982 (US). Flamingo (Pbk) (UK). An epic assault by a high-energy physicist on the conventional patterns of scientific thought tracing the origins of the Cartesian method and documenting its weaknesses. This is a classic work of synthesis weaving together ideas in physics, psychology, economics and political science - and arguing for a holistic approach to even the 'hardest' sciences. Used as the basis for the 'NO KIDDING' pages in this issue. Very readable and highly recommended
The Social Shaping of Technology, edited by Donald Mackenzie and Judy Wajcman. Open University Press (Pbk), 1985. A diverse and interesting collection of articles which demonstrate just how the technology around us is shaped by the social context in which it is produced
Smothered by Invention, edited by Wendy Faulkner and Erik Arnold Pluto Press (pbk), 1985. Women may be the operators of the word processors and the data terminals, but the technology at their fingertips has been constructed by men, and for men. These papers show just how this came about
The Information Technology Revolution, edited by Tom Forester. Basil Blackwell (pbk), 1985. A extensive gleaning of extracts from many of the interesting books on this subject plus articles from popular magazines, makes this as comprehensive a guide as you could wish for. Includes, for example, criticisms of artificial intelligence and an excerpt from the Sherry Turkle book mentioned on page 8. Very good value for money.
Microelectronics and Employment Revisited, by Raphael Kaplinksy. About to be published by the International Labour Organization, this is a global survey of the effect of new technology on employment Particularly useful for its treatment of developing countries.