Computers are a common phenomenon in the lives of people in today’s world.
Computers are very vital especially to those people who run businesses, industries and other organizations. Today, almost everything that people engage in makes use of a computer. Take for instance, the transport sector: vehicles, trains, airplanes, and even traffic lights on our roads are controlled by computers. In hospitals, most of the equipments use or are run by computers.
Look at space exploration; it was all made possible with the advent of computer technology. In the job sector, many of the jobs require knowledge in computers because they mostly involve the use of computers. In short, these machines have become so important and embedded in the lives of humans, they have hugely impacted on the whole society to the extent that it will be very hard to survive now, without them.
This article discusses the influence of computers on the everyday life of human beings. One can guess what will exactly happen if the world had no computers. Many of the cures found with help of computer technology would not have been developed without computer technology, meaning that many people would have died from diseases that are now curable. In the entertainment industry, many of the movies and even songs will not be in use without computers because most of the graphics used and the animations we see are only possible with the help of a computer (Saimo 1).
In the field of medicine, pharmacies, will find it hard in determining the type of medication to give to the many patients. Computers have also played a role in the development of democracy in the world. Today votes are counted using computers and this has greatly reduced incidences of vote rigging and consequently reduced conflicts that would otherwise arise from the same. And as we have already seen, no one would have known anything about space because space explorations become possible only with the help of computer technology.
However, the use of computers has generated public discourses whereby people have emerged with different views, some supporting their use and others criticizing them (Saimo 1).
2. History of computers
To better understand how computers influence the lives of people, we will have to start from the history, from their invention to the present day. Early computers did not involve complex technologies as the ones that are used today; neither did they employ the use of monitors or chips that are common today. The early computers were not that small as those used today and they were commonly used to help in working out complex calculations in mathematics that proved tedious to be done manually. This is why the first machine was called by some as a calculator and others as a computer because it was used for making calculations.
Blaise Pascal is credited with the first digital machine that could add and subtract. Many versions of calculators and computers borrowed from his ideas. And as time went by, many developed more needs, which lead to modifications to bring about new and more efficient computers (Edwards 4).
3. Positive Impacts of computers
Computer influence in the life of man became widely felt during World War II where computers were used to calculate and track the movements and also strategize the way military attacks were done (Edwards 4). It is therefore clear, that computers and its influence on man have a long history. Its invention involved hard work dedication and determination, and in the end it paid off. The world was and is still being changed by computers.
Man has been able to see into the future and plan ahead because of computers. Life today has been made easier with the help of computers, although some people may disagree with this, but am sure many will agree with me. Those who disagree say that computers have taken away the role of man, which is not wrong at all, but we must also acknowledge the fact what was seen as impossible initially, become possible because of computers (Turkle 22). As we mentioned in the introduction, computers are useful in the running of the affairs of many companies today.
Companies nowadays use a lot of data that can only be securely stored with the help of computers. This data is then used in operations that are computer run. Without computers companies will find it difficult store thousands of records that are made on a daily basis. Take for instance, what will happen to a customer checking his or her balance, or one who just want to have information on transactions made. In such a case, it will take long to go through all the transactions to get a particular one. The invention of computers made this easier; bank employees today give customers their balances, transaction information, and other services just by tapping the computer keyboard. This would not be possible without computers (Saimo 1).
(a) In personal life
Today individuals can store all information be it personal or that of a business nature in a computer. It is even made better by being able to make frequent updates and modifications to the information. This same information can be easily retrieved whenever it is needed by sending it via email or by printing it. All this have been made possible with the use of computers.
Life is easier and enjoyable, individuals now can comfortably entertain themselves at home by watching TV with their families or they can work from the comfort of their home thanks to computer technology. Computers feature in the everyday life of people. Today one can use a computer even without being aware of it: people use their credit cards when buying items from stores; this has become a common practice that few know that the transaction is processed through computer technology. It is the computer which process customer information that is fed to it through the credit card, it detects the transaction, and it then pays the bill by subtracting the amount from the credit card.
Getting cash has also been made easier and faster, an individual simply walks to an ATM machine to withdraw any amount of cash he requires. ATM machines operate using computer technology (Saimo 1). I mentioned the use of credit cards as one of the practical benefits of using computers. Today, individual do not need to physically visit shopping stores to buy items. All one needs is to be connected on the internet and by using a computer one can pay for items using the credit card. These can then be delivered at the door step.
The era where people used to queue in crowded stores to buy items, or wasting time in line waiting to buy tickets is over. Today, travelers can buy tickets and make travel arrangements via the internet at any time thanks to the advent of computer technology (Saimo 1).
3.(b) In communication
Through the computer, man now has the most effective means of communication.
The internet has made the world a global village. Today people carry with them phones, which are basically small computers, others carry laptops, all these have made the internet most effective and affordable medium of communication for people to contact their friends, their families, contact business people, from anywhere in the world. Businesses are using computer technology to keep records and track their accounts and the flow of money (Lee 1). In the area of entertainment, computers have not been left behind either. Action and science fiction movies use computers to incorporated visual effects that make them look real. Computer games, a common entertainer especially to teenagers, have been made more entertaining with the use of advanced computer technology (Frisicaro et.
3.(c) In Education
The education sector has also been greatly influenced by computer technology. Much of the school work is done with the aid of a computer. If students are given assignments all they have to do is search for the solution on the internet using Google. The assignments can then be neatly presented thanks to computer software that is made specifically for such purposes.
Today most high schools have made it mandatory for students to type out their work before presenting it for marking. This is made possible through computers. Teachers have also found computer technology very useful as they can use it to track student performance. They use computers to give out instructions.
Computers have also made online learning possible. Today teachers and students do not need to be physically present in class in order to be taught. Online teaching has allowed students to attend class from any place at any time without any inconveniences (Computers 1).
3.(d) In the medical sector
Another very crucial sector in the life of man that computers has greatly influenced and continues to influence is the health sector. It was already mentioned in the introduction that hospitals and pharmacies employ the use of computers in serving people.
Computers are used in pharmacies to help pharmacists determine what type and amount of medication patients should get. Patient data and their health progress are recorded using computers in many hospitals. The issue of equipment status and placement in hospitals is recorded and tracked down using computers. Research done by scientists, doctors, and many other people in the search to find cures for many diseases and medical complications is facilitated through computer technology. Many of the diseases that were known to be dangerous such as malaria are now treatable thanks to computer interventions (Parkin 615).
Computers replacing man
Many of the opponents of computer technology have argued against the use of computers basing their arguments on the fact that computers are replacing man when carrying out the basic activities that are naturally human in nature. However, it should be noted that there are situations that call for extraordinary interventions. In many industries, machines have replaced human labor. Use of machines is usually very cheap when compared to human labor. In addition machines give consistent results in terms of quality.
There are other instances where the skills needed to perform a certain task are too high for an ordinary person to do. This is usually experienced in cases of surgery where man’s intervention alone is not sufficient. However, machines that are computer operated have made complex surgeries successful. There are also cases where the tasks that are to be performed may be too dangerous for a normal human being. Such situations have been experienced during disasters such as people being trapped underground during mining.
It is usually dangerous to use people in such situations, and even where people are used, the rescue is usually delayed. Robotic machines that are computer operated have always helped in such situations and people have been saved. It is not also possible to send people in space duration space explorations, but computer machines such as robots have been effectively used to make exploration outside our world (Gupta 1).
Despite all these good things that computers have done to humans, their opponents also have some vital points that should not just be ignored. There are many things that computers do leaving many people wondering whether they are really helping the society, or they are just being used to deprive man his God given ability to function according to societal ethics. Take for instance in the workplace and even at home; computers have permeated in every activity done by an individual thereby compromising personal privacy.
Computers have been used to expose people to unauthorized access to personal information. There is some personal information, which if exposed can impact negatively to someone’s life. Today the world does not care about ethics to the extent that it is very difficulty for one to clearly differentiate between what is and is not authentic or trustful. Computers have taken up every aspect of human life, from house chores in the home to practices carried out in the social spheres. This has seen people lose their human element to machines. Industries and organizations have replaced human labor for the cheap and more effective machine labor. This means that people have lost jobs thanks to the advances made in the computer technology.
Children using computers grow up with difficulties of differentiating between reality and fiction (Subrahmanyam et.al 139). People depend on computers to do tasks. Students generate solutions to assignments using computers; teachers on the other hand use computers to mark assignments. Doctors in hospitals depend on machines to make patient diagnoses, to perform surgeries and to determine type of medications (Daley 56). In the entertainment industry, computer technology has been used to modify sound to make people think that person singing is indeed great, but the truth of the matter is that it is simply the computer. This has taken away the really function of a musician in the music sector.
In the world of technology today, we live as a worried lot. The issue of hacking is very common and even statistics confirm that huge amounts of money are lost every year through hacking. Therefore, as much as people pride themselves that they are computer literate, they deeply worried that they may be the next victim to practices such as hacking (Bynum 1).
6. Conflict with religious beliefs
There is also the problem of trying to imitate God. It is believed that in 20 years time, man will come up with another form of life, a man made being. This will not only affect how man will be viewed in terms of his intelligence, but it will also break the long held view that God is the sole provider of life.
Computers have made it possible to create artificial intelligence where machines are given artificial intelligence so that they can behave and act like man. This when viewed from the religious point of view creates conflicts in human beliefs. It has been long held that man was created in the image of God.
Creating a machine in the image of money will distort the way people conceive of God. Using artificial methods to come up with new forms of life with man like intelligence will make man equate himself to God. This carries the risk of changing the beliefs that mankind has held for millions of years.
If this happens, the very computer technology will help by the use of mass media to distribute and convince people to change their beliefs and conceptions of God (Krasnogor 1).
We have seen that computer have and will continue to influence our lives. The advent of the computers has changed man as much as it has the world he lives in.
It is true that many of the things that seemed impossible have been made possible with computer technology. Medical technologies have led to discoveries in medicine, which have in turn saved many lives. Communication is now easy and fast. The world has been transformed into a virtual village. Computers have made education accessible to all.
In the entertainment sector, people are more satisfied. Crime surveillance is better and effective. However, we should be ware not to imitate God. As much as computers have positively influenced our lives, it is a live bomb that is waiting to explode. We should tread carefully not to be overwhelmed by its sophistication (Computers 1).
Many technologies have come with intensities that have seen them surpass their productivity levels thereby destroying themselves in the process. This seems like one such technology.
Bynum, Terrell. Computer and Information Ethics.
Plato, 2008. Web. 24 March 2011.
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php> Gupta, Satyandra. We, robot: What real-life machines can and can’t do. Science News, 2011. Web.
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Web. 24 March 2011.
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24 March 2011. com/pdf/Konsbruck.pdf> Parkin, Andrew. Computers in clinical practice. Applying experience from child psychiatry. 2004. Web. 24 March 2011. Web. 24 March 2011.
Web. 24 March 2011.