CS 492/692 - Spring 2020 - Assignment 5

The Impact of Computerization on a Subgroup of Society


Assignment 5 is due at the start of class (830 for sec1, 930 for sec2) on Monday Jul 27. We will also conduct assignment 5B in class that day, with each student reading the assignment of another classmate and completing a review sheet.

In this assignment, students will select a particular segment of society that has advanced significantly with the use of computers, to study where computers have introduced benefits and drawbacks to the members of the subgroup (examining both issues) and to offer some specific recommendations for the future. One option is to consider a particular industry (e.g. the music industry, professional sports, banking, healthcare professionals, organized religion, the film industry, civil engineering, etc.). Another acceptable viewpoint is to consider the clients affected by that industry (e.g. consumers of music, patients, drivers). You are urged to focus on a significant segment of society (so avoid simply restricting yourself to a case study of a particular company, though it is certainly acceptable to be discussing what has happened in specific cases as part of your investigation). Begin the essay with a brief recap of how the segment has evolved from an existence without computers to the present day use.

Whatever focus you choose for the essay, you must find research papers that can be introduced as part of your commentary on the benefits and drawbacks. CS692 students are also required to complete primary research for this essay: interviewing people (with an appendix that also clarifies what was done during the interviews). CS492 students are welcome to include primary research as well, if they wish.

Be sure that your report includes a proper introduction and conclusion, as well as a list of references.

The assignment should be roughly 2000 words and is worth 15 marks. Note that Assignment 5B will count towards your participation grade.

New Note: Please read the formatting instructions on the “handouts” page of this website.


The purpose of this assignment is to draw together some of the various subtopics that were investigated in the course (e.g. security, privacy, work, communications, etc.) in the context of a more targeted study. Students will have one more opportunity to successfully blend research and original thought and will be somewhat more challenged, with the overall focus of the essay being less precisely specified.