In this article I explore the causes and effects of computer technology.
Our world today is influenced heavily upon the usage of computers and digital technology. It was estimated by the U.S. Census in 2003 that sixty-two million households, which equates to 55 percent of Americans, had a home personal computer with a working connection to the internet. This is a major change from the 18 percent figure taken in 1997. It’s obvious that computer usage is increasing dramatically as technology increases, and computers begin to become both more affordable and more powerful. Nowadays, kids literally grow up with the knowledge of how a computer works, but older generations have a great deal of trouble trying to toy with, and make use of the home computer, often times needing to be shown how to do many tasks with it. Computer technology is seeing a rapid growth that is quickly becoming much more complicated and difficult to understand.
My first personal computer, or actually my grandma’s first, was an old Packard Bell PC from 1994. It cost roughly 1000$, and was one of the most powerful on the market. My laptop today, if I had to estimate, is probably about ten times as powerful as that first computer and yet it cost the same price. What impacts have the explosion of computers had on the world today?
It’s obvious that without computer technology our world would be much different. Without computers medical staff at hospitals would still be doing all the records of patients by hand, this goes for hotels, businesses, corporations, law enforcement, among many other things. Computers help regulate your heart rate when you’re laying on the emergency room table, among other things such as blood pressure, or even brainwaves through an EEG machine.
The effects of computers are all around us each and everyday. The entire power grid to the United States is run by a multitude of computers. The power of the microchip processor, the core to modern day computers, has given birth to many different kinds of technology. Without a microchip your cell phone would not work, stop lights could not control the flow of traffic, and your credit cards could not be scanned correctly. The modern day computer has had such a major impact on our life that many of us take it for granted.
Computers will probably not die out anytime soon. According to Moore’s Law, computers double in computational power every two years. This means that the computer you buy today, will be outranked or even obsolete in a very short amount of time. What kind of impact could such a growth of computer technology have on our future? Intel in 2003 mentioned that we would see a halt in the amount of processing power a computer can undertake around 2018. However, since around the 1970’s companies have claimed that the processor would reach a limit of power within only a decade.
In the future, the effects of such a growth of technology could probably be seen in many fields. Physics has seen amazing progress in fields such as quantum mechanics, astronomy, and many others. Engineering has been able to utilize computers to build structural better buildings and machines. Japan has been working hard with developing a processing computer that is able to think and act based on it’s own pre-programmed thoughts or actions. This has given birth to the field of Artificial Intelligence, which we’re seeing a lot of potential in as well.
Honda, for instance, unveiled in 2000 the ASIMO which is a fully functional autonomic humanoid robot. It has been programmed through computer technology to respond to voice commands, walk, run, recognize faces, environment, position, and sounds. It has come a long way from earlier models Honda had developed in secret such as the E 0-6 models. Even toys have been equipped with small artificial intelligent computer systems. Furby, an autonomic robot released in 1997, was capable of learning how to speak a new language through trial and error from it’s original pre-programmed language of Furbish.
It’s true that computers have taken over much of our daily life, and without them we would be lost in almost everything we do. It will be interesting to see where the future will take them and us as well. There are many theories that one day we may even become obsolete to them, though I do not see this ever happening. Computer Technology is something we all deal with in our everyday lives. It has made life more comfortable, easy, and progressive, and is something that will more than likely have an even greater impact on our future.