Computers: Past, Present and Future 

Since the time when man first learned to express how they felt in written form, by drawing or writing, we have tried to communicate with other people. First, it was the prehistoric man with their conceptual cave drawings showing what animals to hunt, how to hunt them, and how to cook them. Soon that form took to hieroglyphics, in which the Egyptians would tell stories about battles they had won and about new pharaohs that had been born. This picture form soon turned in to words in which the Romans would communicate with one another. So it went, each generation progressed more and more, until it was the 20th century. 

In 1937 the electronic computer was born. Computers were in 1943 to break “the unbreakable” German Enigma codes. 1951 introduced the computer commercially. However, it wasn’t until around 1976 when the Apple II was introduced and it was immediately adopted by high schools, colleges, and homes. This was the first time that people from all over really had an opportunity to use a computer. Since that time micro processing chips have been made, the World Wide Web has been invented and in 1996 more than one out of every three people have a computer in their home, and two out of every three have one at the office. 

Today, computers influence all lifestyles, and all different types of businesses. They have become an essential part of everyday life, from chatting, to e-mail, to commerce, to gaming. Almost every person in the United States has had some use on the computer. Since the technology age began, computers have become a mainstay in American and world society as much as the telephone, the automobile, and the television. 

Almost every device has some type of computer in it. Whether it is a cell phone, a calculator, or a vending machine. Even things that we take for granted most cars since the 1980’s have a computer in it or a pacemaker. All of the advancements in computers and technology have led up to the 21st century in which “the greatest advances in computer technology will occur…” Mainly in areas such as “hardware, software, communications and networks, mobile and wireless connectivity, and robotics.” 

All lifestyles benefit from the use of computers. Small “mom and pop” operations are now able to become global business all thanks to the internet, in which they can provide and sell their services to people half the world away. Relatives that live hundreds of miles away from each other can communicate simply with the press of a button. They can receive pictures of their loved ones via e-mail, and can see live images of a newborn baby with the use of a computer and a web-cam. 

A businessman can sit on an airplane while on his way to a meeting and write notes to himself without having to worry about spilling ink. With the invention of Electronic Paper/Electronic ink, this is now possible. “New Jersey bus driver trainees learn to maneuver their vehicles on virtual streets. New Jersey Transit says the virtual training saves the company thousands of dollars each year in training costs and also reduces accidents.” 

Companies are scrambling to get smaller, faster, better microchips that can do more with less work. For example, nobody would have thought when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone that someday people would be able to talk while walking to work. Nobody thought when Edison invented the phonograph that we would be able to download music from the Internet on to a computer the size of a wallet and listen to music while running. This is all due to the creation of computer technology. 

Soon, robots will be performing surgery, cars will drive themselves, and each person will no longer have to worry about pens and paper. As technology advances and we become more like The Jetsons, people will look back on the 20th century as the age of Neanderthals. Even though many people in the dot COM industries have lost their jobs and multiple business have closed, the demand for technology based companies and workers still exist. “According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 5.6 million new software engineers, web programmers, optical networking specialists, programmers, and systems analysts will be needed by 2006.” 

So where will technology go from here? The possibilities are endless, whether it be a pilot less plane, an retina scanner to access an ATM, a robot that cleans peoples homes, there is one thing for certain, if somebody can dream it up, there will be a Bill Gates to turn that dream into a reality. While the future is unclear, the present is crystal clear. Everyone in one-way or another has been bitten by the computer bug. Moreover, as a people, we are impatiently waiting to see the future will hold. So, hold on to your mouse and wait to get e-mail.