NATS 1700 6.00 B - Computers, Information and Society

When we reflect upon the impact of technology on society, computer and information technologies represent canonical examples. Yet, no singular technological invention or event, no matter how ground breaking, can account for the creation of the digital electronic computer. Similarly, no digital computer, no matter how powerful or versatile, can singularly explain the rapid transition of our civilization into that of consumers of digital information. The computer and information technologies are examples of high technologies in constant motion, advancing at a speed that makes projections of their future milestones and impact difficult without a systematic approach grounded in their history and in present technological social and scientific context. Indeed, no invention occurs without such a context created in part by a chain of earlier discoveries, inventions, or contributions.

This course provides a comprehensive look at the historical development, present state, and possible future directions for the computer and information technologies. It examines the continuous interplay between these technologies' advancement and social, economic, and cultural changes and demands.

Computing and its impact on society is a vast subject that cannot be covered adequately in a single course and, therefore, some selection of subjects has to make. The dawn of personal computing, computer networks, the Internet, social networks, from hobbyists and hackers to computer crime, "smart" computing and communication devices, the history of computer games, and computing in Canada are some of the subjects covered in this course.


Required Course Material

Course textbooks will be announced.


To be announced.

Two lectures per week. One for 2 hours and the other for 1 hour.


Degree Credit Exclusions

AK/NATS 1700 6.00.


Mathematical Content:

Minimal simple arithmetical calculation at about Grade 10 level.


Day Start
Duration Location
Cat #
W 10:30 120 CSE  C
F 10:30 60 CSE  C

Course Instructors


E-mail Address

Office Location

Phone #

Zbigniew Stachniak


3052B,Computer Science Building

  (416)736-2100 x 77877

Course Outline

Fall/Winter 2011-12

Course outline