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Problem #1:

We do not need any special technology or power source (except daylight) to read information from printed books, magazines, and so on. Access to all the vast amount of digitized information depends on electricity, batteries, and sophisticated software.

a) Describe various scenarios in which digitized information would not be accessible to a large number of people for a short or long time and in which the consequences would be serious.

b) Should we be concerned about the trend toward more books and other forms of information appearing only in digital form? Is this a potentially serious social problem?

c) What actions or policies can individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments take to reduce the potential negative consequences of loss of access to digital information? Evaluate your proposals; tell which you consider reasonable and which you do not.

Problem #2

Some drivers of Toyota Camry cars involved in accidents have blamed the accidents on unintended acceleration caused by problems in the electronic throttle system. A NASA study found no fault with the electronic throttle system. In some cases, the car's event recorder indicates that the driver stepped on the accelerator when intending to step on the brake. Some accidents resulted from pedals caught on floor mats. A very high percentage of drivers in accidents involving unintended acceleration were 65 years old or older. A group of software experts who examined Toyota's source code for the electronic throttle made many criticisms of the code and said problems with the code could cause unintended acceleration in some circumstances. With this varied
information as background, discuss what level of cause-and-effect proof should be necessary to win a lawsuit against Toyota for a crash where the driver blames the electronic throttle for unintended acceleration.

a) What information should be considered in particular cases?

b) What implications do your responses have for other products that include large, complex software systems?

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Problem #1:

We do not need any special technology or power source (except daylight) to read information from printed books, magazines, and so on. Access to all the vast amount of digitized information depends on electricity, batteries, and sophisticated software.

a) Describe various scenarios in which digitized information would not be accessible to a large number of people for a short or long time and in which the consequences would be serious.

Digitized books of a library in a university (online base with digitized books) that could not be reached for a longer period of time because of issues with servers are one of the situations possible. That can inflict harm on hundreds of students because they could not access the needed literature. Another similar situation will be if the same university library has digitized the University archives (important papers, first diplomas, document with which the University was established) and if those archives were not reachable because of problems with the servers in the library. Very important and valuable documents could be lost in the eye of the public, and cause the University to lose its credibility among scholars. The last situation is that of a base of digitized photos of known criminals in a local police department and if that database would be out of range for the local police; that situation may even cause the rates of crimes to go up.

b) Should we be concerned about the trend toward more books and other forms of information appearing only in digital form? Is this a potentially serious social problem?

Yes we should be worried, because we create a form of dependency on digitized forms of information. Though we are already in an age of digitization of information, we should be careful which information we digitize and which we should definitely not digitize. This issue can evolve to be a serious potential problem, because all of “the computer age wonders” may disappear or be out of reach if there is no power to charge the machines we use. In addition, energy and various sources of energy from which we get the needed power can simply ran out....
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