Technophobes May be Right After All

March 15, 2002

Those who dispute the claim of universal benefits from new information and communications

technologies are often called technophobes, but the evidence shows they may

be right after all, says a Penn State researcher. The prevailing view that the

more technology we have, the better off we are, just isn’t borne out by the

evidence, says Steven Sawyer, associate professor of information science and

technology. "It’s like claiming that owning a personal digital assistant

will automatically make you more organized." Furthermore, the notion that

information science and technology is going to change your job for the better–so

you should get with the program–also doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Sawyer and

a colleague reviewed the literature on the relationships between the technologies

and the larger social context in which they exist that appeared this month in

the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, from the American Society

for Information Sciences and Technology. For the full story by Barbara Hale,