TELECOMPUTERS AND ASSOCIATIONSBarra_rosso_vivoF2D3.gif (2505 byte)

Many could say that the two things are incompatible with the old argument that television and now even more the telecomputer will render man lazy, isolated from the rest of the world, confined in his own home, destined to be an antisocial being.

Obviously they don't know the telecomputer or at least they have a distorted view of its possible application in line with the old concept of television. In fact, the telecomputerg if properly used, will be mainly a source of information and communication withe other peoples as it considerably favours the exchange of information among people who share the same interests and the pleasure to cultivate similar activities among them. Therefore, in view of the foregoing the huge capability of the new means in creating a thick network of interconnection among the members of various associations should not be surprising.

Let us think for a moment of a hypothetical association; for instance, the Association of Professional Information System Workers (APISW) decides to utilize the telecomputer.

Let us see what is new today: I switch on my telecomputer and I connect with the Milan seat of the APISW. of all the various items,I am interested in the news bulletins addressed to the members. I am pleased to notice that the information system workers have become aware of their role and have now passed from slaves of the system to promoters and protagonists of diverse types of Projects. In fact, the association has long created the roll of professional information science workers. Finally the enormous waste of economic resources in public and institutional utilities of the past years has been reduced considerably', thanks to the contribution of professional men and not amateurs for the choice and management of information systems.

The very many bad investments dictated at least by ignorance or dishonesty of corrupted civil servants and politicians--who without any knowledge but with the arrogance of those who wield power and consider it their private property--are by now a distant memory. However, there remain indelible traces in our pockets; in fact, because of the purchase of inadequate information equipment that is incompatible and does not allow a dialogo between the various kinds and therefore lies in the basement together with projects and programmes that were never completely or were badly exploited.

I still remember the times when simple clerks that were hardly capable of switching on a computer were entrusted with the purchase of billions of lire of equipment, only because in the land of the blind blessed are the one-eyed men...

But let's drop all sadness and look ahead to the future. On my computer I start leafing through the new projects under way. I am pleased to read of the establishment of a European association of information workers seated in Rome that will gather all the experiences of the operators in that sector.

I now look for the filmed report of the last national conference on the subject of information and public administration. I see that the project set up in Milan will soon be extended to the whole national territory without foolish and absurd development of similar projects, carried out with kinds of hardware that are completely different from one another and totally incompatible.

I then answer the request of cooperation by a colleague of mine in Catania who is looking for information on environmental monitoring systems and, through the electronic mail, I send him my experiences and the Internet addresses that can provide further documentation.

I also look through the catalogue of refresher course and in addition to an interactive course on the new system of development I am interested in,.I note with pleasure that the Terni media-library is producing CD-ROM on the subject. I also request a videoconference with the President of the association and the board of directors so as to avoid useless trips to Milan with related travel and living expenses. Anyhow for me it is only a question of exploiting the digital telecamera in my studio which will then converse with the similar system (telecomputer telecamera) in operation at the association headquarters.

Finally I see that the national information science bulletin available as an interactive visit; so I enter through the Carlo Magno gate and direct my steps to the first stand to begin my cybernetic visit...

When the visit is over there is nothing more for me to do except set a date with my Umbrian friends for a meeting, for instance in Assisi, to be held next week. It will suffice to leave a message in the association's E-mail box in Umbria and immediately all my colleagues (several hundreds) will be able to read my letter with the agenda, times and place of meeting and the main subjects to be discussed.

In this manner, instead of a fleeting meeting we can dedicate more time to our convivial reunion and-spend two days together instead of one, and maybe we can also take a walk around Assist' because, anyhow, we have saved time and money thanks to the telecomputer.

Many associations would undoubtedly draw great benefits from these new technologies so as to have a more and more direct relation with their members while increasing the quality and functionality of information exchange considerably. This means could be of interest to:

- Cultural associations of various nature.

- Sport associations and fan clubs.

- Association of industries, small and medium companies.

- Associations of the handicapped

- Civil security volunteers

- Blood donors' association (AVIS)

- All types of trade unions.

- Music fan clubs

etc. etc.

This is only a small idea, but surely if the telecomputer is used correctly, instead of isolating us this means will allows us to have a much more intense social life and relations than we have at present, because information and communication are means that amplify Human relationships.