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7. Can we rely on computers wholeheartedly?

Exercise 1. Read this conversation and reproduce it in pairs.

  • — How do you disseminate information in your company? Does it take a lot of time?
  • — Oh, it is easy. We all use the intranet. All department heads have access to the information they need to do the work properly. It helps them to execute and record the day-to-day routine tasks.
  • — We can't deny that the Intranet is useful. Of course, it facilitates communication. But I think there is always a risk of information leaks. For example, is it possible for anybody outside the company to access your intranet site?
  • — I don’t think so. Besides, we never put sensitive information about the company on the Intranet.
  • — I see.

Exercise 2. Fill in the numbered blanks (1-6) in this conversation using the sentences (A-F) below.

  • — I know that new information technologies have a considerable impact on the way we work. We can work from home, (1)... so to say. We can communicate with our office, customers and suppliers by e-mail. When we are in the office we can use the information systems which provide office automation, (2)... on different levels and what not.
  • — It is true. But it is only the top of the iceberg. The information systems of tomorrow are even more glamorous. Can you imagine that we will be able to work from any place we are in? We won't be (3).... What's more, we'll have (4)..., accurate, complete and timely information. And you know information is everything.
  • — Yes, managers can sigh with relief. With sophisticated information systems they can perform their responsibilities more efficiently.
  • — Unfortunately, they are not perfect. There may be (5)... or physical calamities and, besides, the current systems can't do creative jobs.
  • — Don't be so pessimistic. I am sure that new generations of computer-based information systems will be more (6)....
  • — I agree.

A. ... decision support...

B. ... relevant...

C. ... risks of errors...

D. ... reliable...

E. ... tied to any specific location...

F. ...telecommute...

Exercise 3. Act out the following roles using the hints and the information on the cards.

Card 1

You are the head of the Information Centre in your company. One of your former employees has deliberately erased very important information which thwarted your plans to complete a profitable project. You have invited computer wizards to discuss the matter. Tell them what has happened and ask for advice how to avoid such misfortunes.

Card 2

You are computer gurus. You have expertise in data security. Listen to the head of the Information Centre and give him/her recommendations how to disguise data, how to fight with a computer virus and how to avoid the destruction of the company software.

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