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On the Issues: Society and Technology 

Microsoft Essays on Technology and Society - Realizing Potential Through Innovation and Understanding

Published: June 3, 2002

We at Microsoft recognize that our success as a leading software company brings with it special responsibilities. One is to help foster better public understanding of technology. Another is to help stimulate a constructive public dialogue on how technology’s benefits can be enhanced and extended to all.

In pursuit of these goals, Microsoft publishes a continuing series of essays in leading U.S. newspapers and magazines. The essays offer our perspective on a broad range of important trends and issues that arise from the dynamic interaction of technology and society in our world today.

In many of the essays, an especially vital theme is the challenge of strengthening one of the most important drivers of economic growth: technological innovation. These essays explore the crucial role of policies that promote education, research and development, and the protection of intellectual property.

Other essays focus on the exciting possibilities and challenges created by accelerating, integrated innovation. The age of the personal computer is rapidly evolving into an era in which millions of mobile devices, smart appliances, PCs and servers are connected to each other by the Internet and wireless networks. What’s emerging is a fundamentally new information environment, one that has the potential to transform daily life, including how we work and do business, how we communicate and learn, and how we socialize and are entertained.

Still other essays seek ways to dissolve the barriers and inequalities that prevent too many people and groups from enjoying the full benefits of technology. And a number of essays suggest positive responses to counter technology’s unfortunate side effects—from the insecurity caused by cyber-crime, to the waste of time and loss of privacy arising from the epidemic of junk e-mail.

The range of these essays demonstrates how software and technology play increasingly central roles in almost every facet of life today. Because public understanding and dialogue are more essential than ever before, Microsoft is pleased to offer these essays as part of our mission of enabling people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer

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