The Tradeoffs of Societal Computing

Sheth, Swapneel Kalpesh; Kaiser, Gail E.

As Social Computing has increasingly captivated the general public, it has become a popular research area for computer scientists. Social Computing research focuses on online social behavior and using artifacts derived from it for providing recommendations and other useful community knowledge. Unfortunately, some of that behavior and knowledge incur societal costs, particularly with regards to Privacy, which is viewed quite differently by different populations as well as regulated differently in different locales. But clever technical solutions to those challenges may impose additional societal costs, e.g., by consuming substantial resources at odds with Green Computing, another major area of societal concern. We propose a new crosscutting research area, Societal Computing, that focuses on the technical tradeoffs among computational models and application domains that raise significant societal issues. We highlight some of the relevant research topics and open problems that we foresee in Societal Computing where software engineering research approaches and techniques seem particularly likely to be fruitful. We feel that these topics, and Societal Computing in general, need to gain prominence as they will provide useful avenues of research leading to increasing benefits for society as a whole.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-032-10
Published Here
June 9, 2011