Human Services Technology by Dick Schoech, Published by Haworth Press

Chapter 13: Trends, Issues, and the Future

Web sites Additional review & discussion questions Exercises Additional readings

Web Sites relevant to sections of this chapter

Society Policy Management Community Clinical Education Research Clients
Site Relevance

Section 1:  Society ( also see Ch 5 )

See the Fictitious Futures option

Web site with predictions about the future and technology


Section 2: Policy formulation and analysis ( also see Ch 5 ) World game workshop


Section 3: Administrative practice  ( also see Ch 5 ) HandsNet helps agencies integrate IT


Section 4: Community practice ( also see Ch 5 )



Section 5:  Individual, family, and group practitioners ( also see Ch 5 )

Fictitious futures in the human services

Computer-based image retrieval Cyberpsych online counseling service e-Health code of ethics


Section 6:  Educators ( also see Ch 5 ) The interactive patient simulation AudioPsych, continuing education online The future of networking technologies for education Western Governor's University (a DE consortium) Email based mental health training for CEUs. Cases and case notes that may be useful in clinical teaching

Section 7:  Researchers and IT Developers ( also see Ch 5 ) Perform your statistical calculations Affectionate computers Increase awareness of qualitative analysis One stop shopping for Federal Statistics


Section 8:  Clients  (also see Ch 5 ) Medical records: Electronic Privacy Information Center Condom & Lady Latex at War With the Army of Sex Diseases"--a comic book Palo Alto Rehabilitation Research & Development Center

Additional Review and Discussion Questions

  1. none


Exercise 1: Controversial discussions

Discuss the following statements:

a. To optimize the use of IT, we must eliminate humans from the system because they are the parts of the system which are unpredictable, unreliable, and tend to break down.

b. If human beings can be replaced by technology, they should be.

c. The qualities which constitute friendship and intimacy can be exhibited by an IT system.

d. For every step forward, we loose something. Consider the following examples:

With the invention of information technologies, people lost (complete this sentence with three examples).

e. Around 1950 Alan Turing, a British mathematician, devised a test for determining how closely IT could mimic human behavior. The Turing test involves a subject interacting with a terminal, without knowing whether the responses provided to questions entered were from a computer or a human being. By the year 2000, Turing estimated that 70% of the interrogators, after five minutes of play, would not be able to distinguish the computer from the human. Is the Turing test a valid test? What test would you recommend?

f. People seem to work harder in societies that have more labor saving technologies.

Exercise 2:  Debate

Below are two positions. Divide the class into two debate groups. Each group will take 10 minutes to prepare its defense of one position. The debate should last for 20 minutes. A general debriefing and discussion should follow.

Position one: The majority of human service professionals are qualified to make complex professional decisions because they have experience and the necessary professional education and training. There is no way to describe and quantify these decisions and no way to evaluate the quality and outcome of these decisions. This applies in almost all human service areas, for example, policy analysis, community work, running an agency, and direct interaction with clients.

Position two: If a team of IT specialists follows a human service practitioner for a period of time and if the practitioner answers all their questions about what is done, the specialists can develop IT systems that will replicate human service decision making with a high degree of accuracy and consistency.

Exercise 3:  Issues from IT advertising.

            Identify and describe two IT advertisements from newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, or the Web.  Be able to discuss what the ads tell us about IT users and purchasers in terms of ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. What other issues are revealed in the ads?

Exercise 4:  Security, confidentiality, and privacy planning at CCI, Inc.

            The executive director of Community Counseling, Inc. has contracted with you to develop recommendations for security, privacy, and confidentiality. State what you would recommend.

Exercise 5:  Using the Internet to assume identities

            On the Internet, join an online group using an identity different from our own.  For example, join a group as an elderly person, or a person of a different gender or ethnic group.  Record your reactions to share with the class.  Be careful not to deceive.  Some groups allow you to select and customize an avatar.  You could select an avatar which allows you to be initially perceived as someone different from your own identity. (Thanks to Rob MacFadden, U. of Toronto School of Social Work for this suggestion.)

Additional Reading

Fink, J.  (1999).  Cyberseduction.  New York:  Prometheus Books.

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