Assessing the Impacts of Information Technology: Hope to Escape the Negative Effects of an Information Society by Research

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VII PREFACE The contents of this volume is based upon presentations that took place during the international research symposium Research on Impacts - Hope for Escaping the Negative Effects of an Information Society in Walberberg on May 25 - 26, 1981. The symposium was organized by the Institute for Organization and Automation at the University of Cologne (BIFOA) within a research project on Konstruktive Wirkungsforschung and was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology. Information technology is considered to be the crucial factor for the future development of our society. The expectations differ widely in respect to how this development will look like. Information technology has on the one hand the poten- tial of causing substantial negative impacts on individuals and on society but on the other hand the potential of being the key technology for solving pressing problems of mankind. The decisions of today will already determine Which impacts we have to cope with in the future. The challenge for research is therefore to deliver sufficient information to enable the decision makers to make the right decisions. The- conference was designed to provide an opportunity to exchange ideas on aims and issues of research on technological impacts and especially to discuss the chances to meet this research challenge and to achieve satisfying contributions by research for coping with future impacts of information technology.