- The uses of computers
- The invention of Computer
- Types of Computers
- The uses of computer in industrial and business fields
- The miracles performed by computers
- Future prospects of the computer revolution
The computer is the latest invention of science. It is the most important invention of science. It has brought a revolution in the lives of human beings. It has become the most permanent necessity of modern people. In its absence, no rapid progress can be made in any field of life. Its literacy (education and training have become inevitable for the citizens of every country. A person or a nation or a country cannot make rapid progress in the world without the knowledge and training of computers.
In almost all the countries, the computer literacy has been started from primary level to postgraduate level. Various courses of computer – education have now been started in the entire world. Computers are now being used in almost all the fields of human activities, such as, business, finance, education, science and so on. They are changing the way of working in all the fields of life. Today the world is on the threshold of a computer revolution. In fact, in the years to come, they are going to play a very important role in the betterment and welfare of mankind.
Computers have some qualities, which make them superior to men in some ways. They never get tired. The same computer can do a wide variety of jobs. Computer is indeed the greatest invention of man.
With the help of computers, man has become capable of doing the jobs, which he had never dreamt of. In fact, the use of computers has now become inevitable in all the fields of human activities. They have increased production and reduced the requirement for manpower in industry and business.
In the modern are, there is, in practice, no aspect of civilized life, which is not at some stage under the direct control of computer. The invention of computer has really brought a wonderful and wholesome revolution in the lives of human being in the modern world.
Science and technology have made wonderful progress during the post-war period. The two are twin sisters and related terms. In fact they are the most important features of the Space Age. The modern miracles – space journey, ocean exploration, landing on the moon and the dream of assailing the planets would have been impossible without scientific technology.
We are living in an era of revolutions intellectual, scientific, economic, political and cultural. New ideals theories and inventions hit the headlines in the newspapers. We often hear and read about radical ideas, information explosion, mechanical wonders, technical breakthrough, new management and computer revolution. Computer is the helpmate in all these fields.
Computers, nowadays have become part of our daily background. News papers, magazines we read, have been typed by computers, the bills we pay are prepared on computers; and statements in banks and other institutions are made over computers and houses are designed by architects with the help of computers. Scientists, businessmen, soldiers and sailors, clerks and directors, accountants and engineers, teachers and lawyers, doctors and researchers, and a growing number of computer personnel make constant use of computers in their daily life. Modern offices hum with the sounds of office machine typewriter, dictation machines, calculators, copiers, and data processing machines.
The birth and evolution of computer technology in the second half of the twentieth century will go down as one of the most significant events in human history. Like most of the modern inventions, machines and apparatuses, the computer was also invented in the western world. The honor of designing first computer goes to Professor Howard Aikens and his team in Harvard University, USA. The first computer saw the light of the day in 1944 and during last 60 years the whole world is already in the thick of computer revolution.
Computers were first introduced and used for defence purposes in America. Soon they become a Common property of human race. It has added a glow to human life in more than one way. It has ensured accuracy and speed and has also cut down delays and drudgery. Computers have made great inroads into national life. They have invaded all the fields – science, education, commerce, politics, news media, medicine, amusements and management. It has rightly been described as the eight wonder of the world. In fact we are now living in the age of computerization – the fourth generation of computer.
Computer is an electronic data processing machine, which can accept data in a prescribed form, process, the data and apply the result of processing in a specified format as information, or assigned to control automatically some further machine process. It works more or less like human brain and brings forth results at marvellous Speed. It has ushered in an era of automation. The basic feature of a computer is that it performs logical operations on inputs and yields answers according to programmed instructions.
Computer has brought about a silent revolution in many walks of life including production, scientific research, communication and information. It has made a deep impact on our life. In a nutshell, this data processing and communication high tech has proved to be a catalyst of change. Computers are superior to human mind in their ability to remember masses of data and perform calculations at a lightening speed. They are more efficient than human beings as they do not err except due to human error of wrong feeding.
There are three main types of computers now in use namely:
The Digital is the most widely used machine, Engineers and scientists engaged in processing large number of mathematical operations use it for commercial applications. It works on data, held as large number of distinct items and operates in a series of steps or instructions.
The Analog is a sophisticated machine, which can accept data as quantity varying over a length of time, rather than as series of distinct items each with a unique value. These computers are, used for scientific purposes to measure results of operations. They are also used for process (control) of industrial operations.
The Hybrid as the name indicates, combines some of the properties of both digital and analog computers. A varying input accepted by the analog can be converted into series of distinct values, which can then be processed, by the digital part of the machine. It has the advantage of both the types of device, as digital processing is usually faster and more sophisticated than the processing alone by analog machines.
The computer is now becoming more and more important in the Industrial field not only for calculation and storing process but also for precise control of plant, machine tools, to switch telephone calls, to control vast communication network and to expand the range of radar equipment etc. Problems and situations, which were once considered complex and time consuming, are now quickly and accurately solved and evaluated by computers. In fact computer has become the main stay of our economic and business activities and their efficiency and effectiveness.
Nowadays the very idea of management is based on computerization. The modern explosion of information has necessitated development and use of computers. According to Fulmer and Koontz, Management is information. Computers have proved to be powerful tools in the hands of management because of the development of system of structure to collect, organize, process and disseminate right type of information.
Businessmen and job-workers are greatly indebted to the new computer child – the Mini computer that performs several tasks, and at the same time communicates us at individual workshop. Thus the new technology has given us greater choice in exchanging ideas. They are being used for commercial purposes since 1950. In recent years thcre has been a computer explosion in Pakistan. Small business organizations, training institutions, educational institutions and government offices have installed micro computers like radio, shack, commodore, apple, sord, osbone, monore system, IBM S-23 etc. the explosive growth is attributed to the liberal import policy. A number of data, entry machines of types IBM-5280, IBM-029, IBM-129, BM3740, MDS-100 and Pentium-5 are in use in different institutions. Some visual record machines like NRC and others are also being used.
The present day fourth generation computers have started performing many fantastic and hard to believe functions. By now a large variety of computers have been designed and developed. The Super Computer is now round the corner. Japan and the USA are already running a race for computer supremacy. Japan has lately launched a programme to produce a super computer, which will be 1000 times faster than the present day computers. It will be able to think like human brain, manipulate symbols and make inferences.
Scientists in USA are also planning to link the computers to the satellites. A combination of super computers and satellites will be able to determine precisely the course of attacking nuclear missiles. Then it will instantly relay the information to laser armed battle stars and order the missiles destroyed. Some researcher of today believe that there is nothing which the human mind can do, the computer will not be able to do; and do much better in future. Professor Robert Jestrow of New York’s Columbia University believes that will see the silicon brain is an emergent form of life to compete with man.
Computers hold out a great and bright future to mankind. Computer communication will be key to the present and future generations. There will be multiple lines that enable world processors and mini computers to talk with big computer. Computers will communicate with one another. Office workers will be able to generate all their communication from single terminal. Small groups of terminals will be connected to local computers, which in turn will be connected to one more combination of computers in the national or even international network. It means that communicators will be able to plug in to any computer within their network and gain access to any data stored any where in the country or in the world.
It also means that business communication and decision-makers will be able to work at home and use a microcomputer to get access into network and retrieve any needed information.
Anthony Candor has predicted: “Computer will give management information they need to make correct decisions, politicians, the facts on which to base policy decisions; research workers, the details of results obtained by others in scientific fields; architects, up to date information about available materials and designs, doctors, case histories of patients with specific symptoms. Lawyers, precedents airline pilots, flight plans. The list is endless because we are continually devising new tasks for computer and development computers to perform them”.
Let us not be carried away with optimism. Will the computer, like ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ turn against and dominate its creator? The answer given to this question by an eminent thinker is that the computer will represent no danger to humanity if we do not allow them to give decisions on problems that involve moral issues. Moreover, there are some important activities of the human mind, such as awareness of the self, moral-values, emotional responses, religious beliefs and curiosity and curing that cannot be transferred to any computer program.
In conclusion, we can say that computer technology has made stupendous progress during last 45 years. It has revolutionized the work methods cutting down time and cost. There is no field of human activity in which computers cannot help. But there are many dangers inherent in the computer revolution. Over-dependence on computers is bound to dampen the brain power of human beings by non-use. Some people think that computers will snatch jobs from workers because automation is job snatcher. They say: “Throw out the computer or it will throw you out”. Others believe that it will create more jobs. The advocates of automation consider it a source of many social and economic benefits. Expanding economy is bound to create new jobs for more workers in long run.
The fear is not baseless for with the progress in science and technology, men are losing control on the inventions of science. Whatever may be the advantages and disadvantages, more and more computers are being installed every day. This is the march of time. Nobody can stop it. But we can exercise wisdom in their use. They should not be allowed to become ministers of warmongers.