Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) are but two of the more recent examples of computer applications in domains previously dominated by human labour. The use of computers in such areas has increasingly attracted social science research. There are several reasons one could suggest for this, t least of them being the simple fact that public money is being provided for such research. Of course, some of the interest may be due to the wish to prove that techlogy is being used to inhuman ends, but undoubtedly there is also some degree of fascination involved. Can you really do all the things with computers that people claim you can? There is certainly satisfaction to be had from smugly pointing out its shortcomings, but many of the few sociologists in our own organisation are also among the most avid users of modern techlogy. Needless to say, they also belong to the most critical users of the techlogy! A new strain of motivation for social science research which appears to be gaining significance, is the desire to re-direct techlogy, or at least - and probably more realistically - to playa part in shaping future techlogy . The entire range of motives may be recognised in the collection of papers contained in this volume.
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