forwarded message from John Conover

From: John Conover <>
Subject: forwarded message from John Conover
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 21:00:56 -0800

FYI, Shoshanna Zuboff was right in the book "In the Age of the Smart
Machine; the Future of Work and Power," Basic Books, New York, New
York, 1984, when she said that the advances of technology will not
always be the ones we want, from pp. 9:

    Viewed from [this] perspective, information technology is
    characterized by a fundamental duality that has not yet been fully
    appreciated. On the one hand, the technology can be applied to
    automating operations according to a logic that hardly differs
    from that of the nineteenth-century machine system-replace the
    human body with a technology that enables the same processes to be
    performed with more continuity and control. On the other, the same
    technology simultaneously generates information about the
    underlying productive and administrative processes through which
    an organization accomplishes its work. It provides a deeper level
    of transparency to activities that had been either partially or
    completely opaque. In this way information technology supersedes
    the traditional logic of automation.

The last two sentences are rather a bit of a blasphemy for an
Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School, (since it is
counter Taylorism-which is the corner stone of the HBS paradigm,) not
to mention the moral and legal implications. She then defines
organizational authority, (Chapter 6,) elaborates on the limits of
hierarchy in an informated organization, (Chapter 8,) and knowledge
and information being on a "collision course" with authority, pp. 310:

    The informating [sic] process sets knowledge and authority on a
    collision course. In the absence of a strategy to synthesize their
    force, neither can emerge a clear victor, but neither can emerge

On page 388:

    History reveals the power of certain technological innovations to
    transform the mental life of an era-the feelings, sensibilities,
    perceptions, expectations, assumptions, and, above all,
The attached would not have been possible without the invention of the
telephone. (Or time zones, depending on your point of view.) The point
is that we can not forsee what technology will bring. (Who would have
thought in the last century that time zones could be exploited to
cheat on a test.)  Unrelated to the point, she continues on page 390:

    [Managers] use the technology as a fail-safe system to increase
    their sense of certainty and control over both production and
    organizational functions. Their experiences suggest that the
    traditional environment of imperative control is fatally flawed in
    its ability to adequately exploit the informating [sic] capacity
    of the new technology [of electronically mediated organizations.]

Which, depending on your point of view, is probably the reason for the
large number of studies that show no improvement in productivity after
electronically mediating an organization. This issue is not
new. Douglas Engelbart (inventor of the computational environment as
we know it today,) made the famous statement long ago, (in the context
of "electronifying" a paper based administrative methodology,) "if you
computerize a big mess, you end up with a very fast big mess." Zuboff
shows how to avoid doing that-and also shows, (there are many studies
cited,) that it is a paradigm issue. Which makes it non-trivial.

What I am trying to do is to get you to read Zuboff's work. (Such
things as the attached are inevitable, looked at in the larger
perspective.) I won't give away any more.  The last chapter,
"Conclusion," addresses; Technology is a Place; The Division of Labor
and the Division of Learning; Managerial Activities in the Informated
Organization; Managing the Intricacy of Posthierarchical
Relationships; Dissent from Wholeness; The Informated Organization and
Recent Trends in Work Organization.


------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) -------
Message-ID: <"dkw-c.0.Bk3.aWNTo"@netcom5>
From: John Conover <>
To: John Conover <>
Subject: Arrest Made in High-Tech Exam Cheating Scheme
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 18:00:37 PST

         NEW YORK (Reuter) - A California man has been arrested for
running a scheme that allowed people to cheat on required
graduate school admission exams by using pencils encoded with
the answers, federal prosecutors said Monday.
         George Kobayashi, 45, of Arcadia, California, was arrested
Saturday on two fraud charges filed in Manhattan federal court
alleging he operated his test-cheating scheme from November 1993
until the present.
         If convicted of the two charges, Kobayashi faces a possible
maximum prison term of 10 years and fines of $500,000.
         Although prosecutors would not comment on how many people
had cheated on the tests, it appeared from the complaint that
hundreds had used Kobayashi's services -- which were built
around a simple difference in time zones.
         When the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT),
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign
Language (TOEFL) are administered on any given day, they contain
the same questions and answers nationwide.
         According to the complaint, the scheme came to light when a
test-taker, who later became an informant, decided to take the
GMAT. The informant saw an ad for Kobayashi's ``American Test
Center'' touting a ``unique'' method of preparing students for
graduate admission tests.
         The ad, which gave a toll-free number and New York address,
said customers would not be charged unless they received their
pre-chosen target score. Prices ranged from $3,000 to $6,000.
         Prosecutors alleged that shortly before taking the tests,
the applicants were provided with correct answers in code on
pencils that test-takers carried into the exam with them.
         Kobayashi allegedly ran his scheme by having a team of
experts take each exam in New York City using assumed names.
         The actual test-takers who hired Kobayashi's company were
instructed to fly to Los Angeles to take the exam.
         Relying on the three-hour time difference, the experts
telephoned the correct answers to Kobayashi's office in Los
Angeles where the answers were quickly coded onto pencils by
Kobayashi's employees and then provided to the test-takers, the
complaint alleged.
         Kobayashi's company allegedly divided test-takers into small
groups and transported them to various test sites around the Los
Angeles area so their high scores would not be concentrated in
one test site and raise suspicion of cheating.

------- end -------

John Conover,,

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