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Computers, Communications; and Public Policy Report of a Workshop at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, August 14-18,1978 Conducted by the Steering Committee on Computer-Based Information Technology and Public Policy National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS ,*-, - f, Washington, D.C. 1981 Mfcl Â« 6
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engi- neering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's pur- poses of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with gen- eral policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing member- ship corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the sci- entific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. This workshop was supported by the National Research Council and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Steering Committee LOUIS T. RADER, Chairman, Professor of Electrical Engineer- ing and Business Administration, The Darden School, Uni- versity of Virginia RAYMOND BOWERS,* Vice Chairman, Professor of Physics, and Director, Science, Technology & Society Program, Cornell University LEE L. DAVENPORT, Vice President-Chief Scientist, GTE Corporation JERRIER A. HADDAD, Vice President, Technical Personnel Development, IBM Corporation J.C.R. LICKLIDER, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology VICTOR A. VYSSOTSKY, Executive Director, Circuit Provi- sioning Systems Division, Bell Telephone Laboratories Publication Committee DALE B. HARTMAN, Director of Manufacturing Technology, Hughes Aircraft Company JOHN M. RICHARDSON,** Chief Scientist, National Telecommu- nications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce VLADIMIR SLAMECKA, Professor, School of Information and Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology WILLIS H. WARE, Corporate Research Staff, The RAND Corporation ALAN F. WESTIN, Professor of Public Law and Government, Columbia University *Deceased April 29, 1979. **Now Senior Staff Officer, Committee on Satellite Power Systems, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council. 111
iv RICHARD E. WILEY, Partner, Kirkland, Ellis and Rowe F. KARL WILLENBROCK, Dean, School of Engineering and Ap- plied Science, Southern Methodist University Participants CAROLE PARSONS BAILEY, Information Policy Consultant, Con- ference Rapporteur JORDAN J. BARUCH, Assistant Secretary for Science and Tech- nology, U.S. Department of Commerce A.G.W. BIDDLE, President, Computer and Communications In- dustry Association JACOB F. BLACKBURN, Director, Office of Technology Policy and Space Affairs, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State RAYMOND BOWERS, Professor of Physics and Director, Science, Technology & Society Program, Cornell University KIER T. BOYD, Deputy Assistant Director, Technical Services Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Depart- ment of Justice ANNE W. BRANSCOMB, Esq., Chairman of the Board, Kalba Bowen Associates, Inc. LEWIS M. BRANSCOMB, Vice President and Chief Scientist, IBM Corporation YALE M. BRAUNSTEIN, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Brandeis University J. CHRISTOPHER BURNS, Special Assistant to the President, The Washington Post Company FRANK J. CARR, Commissioner, Automated Data and Telecommu- nications Service, U.S. General Services Administration ROBERT F. DALY, Operations Officer, U.S. Office of Tech- nology Assessment
LEE L. DAVENPORT, Vice President-Chief Scientist, GTE Corporation RUTH M. DAVIS,* Deputy Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense JERRIER A. HADDAD, Vice President, Technical Personnel Development, IBM Corporation RUSSELL D. HENSLEY, Vice President-Technology, Diversified Business Operations, Aetna Life S Casualty Company DALE B. HARTMAN, Director of Manufacturing Technology, Hughes Aircraft Company VALERIUS E. HERZFELD, Vice President-Marketing, Sperry Rand Corporation CHARLES L. JACKSON, Staff Engineer, Subcommittee on Commu- nications, U.S. House of Representatives ALTON P. JENSEN, Professor, School of Information S Compu- ter Science, Georgia Institute of Technology GEORGE M. KROLOFF, Administrative Assistant to the Chair- man, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate E. RAYMOND LANNON,** Director, Office of Advanced Systems, Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare J.C.R. LICKLIDER, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology FRANCIS A. McDONOUGH, Director, Office of Computer Science, U.S. Department of the Treasury WILLIAM J. MILLER, Program Director, Office of International Electronic Message Systems, U.S. Postal Service *As of November 19, 1979: Assistant Secretary of Energy for Resource Application, U.S. Department of Energy **As of November l, 1980: Director, Information Systems Management Program, University of Maryland.
vl GEORGE W. MITCHELL, Consultant to the Board of Governors, U.S. Federal Reserve System OMAR K. MOORE, Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh NORMAN NISENOFF, Vice President, Forecasting International, Inc. COURTLAND D. PERKINS, President, National Academy of Engi- neering LOUIS T. RADER, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Business Administration, The Darden School, University of Virginia JOHN M. RICHARDSON, Chief Scientist, National Telecommuni- cations and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce NAOMI SELIGMAN, Partner, The Research Board, Inc. (formerly McCaffery, Seligman & von Simson, Inc.) RICHARD L. SHUEY, Manager, Information Studies Branch, Re- search and Development Center, General Electric Company VLADIMIR SLAMECKA, Professor, School of Information and Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology VICTOR A. VYSSOTSKY, Executive Director, Circuit Provision- ing Systems Division, Bell Telephone Laboratories WILLIS H. WARE, Corporate Research Staff, The Rand Corpor- ation ALAN F. WESTIN, Professor of Public Law and Government, Columbia University RICHARD E. WILEY, Partner, Kirkland, Ellis and Rowe F. KARL WILLENBROCK, Dean, School of Engineering and Ap- plied Science, Southern Methodist University ROXANNE WILLIAMS, Director, Information & Planning Divi- sion, Data Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Vll Staff KERSTIN B. POLLACK, Administration, Associate Director, New Programs Development, Assembly of Engineering, National Research Council JOEL D. GOLDHAR, Executive Director, Committee on Computer- Aided Manufacturing, Assembly of Engineering, National Research Council HUGH H. MILLER, Executive Director, Office of the Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Engineering ROMAN V. MROZINSKI, Executive Director, Board on Telecommu- nications-Computer Applications, Assembly of Engineering, National Research Council FRANK M. SNYDER, Executive Assistant, Board on Telecommuni- cations-Computer Applications, Assembly of Engineering, National Research Council JUDITH A. WERDEL, Professional Associate, Committee on International Scientific and Technical Information Pro- grams, Commission on International Relations, National Research Council GWYNNE ELLSWORTH, Secretary, Board on Telecommunications- Computer Applications, Assembly of Engineering, National Research Council
FOREWORD This report summarizes the proceedings of a conference on needed research to help government and industry identify is- sues and outline policy research related to current and fu- ture applications of computer-based information technology. The conference was held August 14-18, 1978, at the Na- tional Academy of Sciences Summer Study Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, under the sponsorship of the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the Na- tional Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engi- neering. Participants in the conference included some 50 representatives of the federal government, universities, industry, and research organizations. Funding was provided by the National Research Council and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Woods Hole discussions were followed by an additional one-day session that some of the conferees attended in Wash- ington, D.C., May 15, 1979. The purpose of that meeting was to review the draft conference report for consistency with the conferees' conclusions, and also to fill some gaps in its treatment of the subject matter. Even in five days of intense work, however, the steering committee and par- ticipants could not expect to cover fully all of the impor- tant issues related to computer-based information technology and its policy implications. For example, artificial in- telligence and software standardization and development were among the important topics noted by the conferees but not analyzed in any depth. Similarly, the relationship between computer-based information technology and education was discussed, but in view of the large amount of work on the subject that has already been done, and the lack of expert agreement as to conclusions that may be drawn from it, the conferees felt that little they might say would be of spe- cial value. In the conferees' opinion, in short, both the ix
Woods Hole Conference and the May 1979 follow-up meeting must be seen as but one milestone in a necessarily continu- ing effort to identify and analyze the many research needs related to information technology policy. The Woods Hole Conference was conceived at a meeting that the National Research Council called in the spring of 1978 to explore key economic and social issues relating to the development and use of computers in the U.S. and other countries. Those discussions followed the creation a year earlier of a Board on Computer Science and Technology within the Research Council's Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The Board had been charged with three main tasks: (1) promoting the health of computer science as a discipline; (2) linking computer science to other fields of scientific and technological inquiry; and (3) responding to requests from government agencies and other parts of the Research Council for advice on questions of a scientific or technical nature. Because of the Board's strongly disciplinary focus, the National Research Council has established another group, notably the Board on Tele- communications-Computer Applications in the Assembly of Engineering, to develop expertise in the pertinent eco- nomic, social, and system application areas. Neither the participants in the original exploratory discussions, nor the participants in the Woods Hole Con- ference have seen the initiative as exclusively, or even primarily, of interest to program planners at the National Research Council. The development of public policy for computer-based information technology has become a proper concern of both government and the private sector, and the ideas presented in this report consequently aim to stimu- late research and analysis under the widest possible array of competent auspices. A word should also be said about the report's consistent stress on "computer-based information technology" as the organizing concept for current and future thinking about the gathering, processing, storing, and transmission of in- formation electronically. The Woods Hole Conference quickly concluded that treating computing and telecommunications as functions that depend on different technologies makes lit- tle sense today. The two have been converging on common digital techniques for almost a decade. In the 1980's, as the nation's telecommunications systems become increas- ingly digital, one can expect all but the most arbitrary distinctions between computing and telecommunications to disappear. Thus, readers of the report should understand the term "computer-based information technology" as
connoting any combination of the tools of computing and telecommunications which, when deployed and operated in association with one another, allow information to be cap- tured, retrieved, transmitted, stored, or otherwise manipu- lated electronically. Much of the Woods Hole discussion was concerned with the benefits that will accrue to Americans if, as a society, we apply computer-based information technology wisely and efficiently. Some discussion also took place regarding the negative aspects of the technology if it were not used with wisdom and concern for its potentially adverse social implications. Indeed, as Chapter IV emphasizes, the par- ticipants were convinced that actions by the U.S. govern- ment and industry that affect the technology's development and use at home must necessarily reflect a full and sensi- tive appreciation of other countries' needs and aspirations. Effective use of the technology requires global sharing of such resources as the electromagnetic spectrum. Computer-based information technology has become both an essential ingredient and facilitator of international trade and, for the technologically advanced countries, a key ele- ment in their national security. Accordingly, while-the report argues strongly for research to shed light on the issues that currently permeate national discussions of computer-based information technology, it also assumes that any government policy aiming to encourage wise and efficient use of the technology must consider its foreign as well as its domestic policy implications. Louis T. Rader Conference Chairman
CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION 1 2 TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS & IMPLICATIONS 12 3 REGULATORY ISSUES 26 4 INTERNATIONAL ISSUES 41 5 SOME KEY ISSUES IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR 78 xiii