"Computers: from mere machine to man's best friend!" - by Janani Gopalakrishnan

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Laxmi, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Laxmi

    Laxmi Administrator Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    We talk about technology in each episode of “Technology for You and Me”. Undoubtedly, the most common form in which technology manifests in day-to-day life is as the computer. What does this machine really mean to us? To some like me, it is no longer merely a machine, but a friend and support system. What does it mean to you?

    Long ago, a man named Charles Babbage invented a machine called the Difference Engine, which could perform calculations easily and efficiently. But neither he nor the World was satisfied with this. Man was still superior – he could calculate the value ‘pi’ up to a lakh digits but this contraption could do it only upto 20. Man could remember things. The Difference Engine couldn’t.

    This led to the discovery of the first computer – the Analytical Engine – a device which could accept information, store it, perform calculations, and present the output, and even control the way processes happened in it. At that point of time this seemed like quite a lot! But ‘We want more!’ has always been mankind’s moolamantra. Consequently, the desire to make the computer do more led to more and more developments in the field and we have now reached a stage where computers can synthesize virtual worlds, compose music, talk, hear, conduct your business, and even think!

    Early computers were as big as a room and those who had it had it mostly for scientific or research purposes. When the machines started shrinking in size, companies started buying them based on their requirements. Then, computers became smaller and firms and individuals started buying them as status symbols. Gradually, the Desktops became Laptops, Laptops became Palmtops, and Palmtops became Fingertops. Even as size decreased, the power increased, costs went down, and more and more people started buying and using computers, till one day people found that computers were an integral part of their life!

    We now need a computer not just for professional work, but also to tell us our appointments for the day, to remind us to wish somebody on their birthday, to know the time, to be in touch with friends and family, to be up-to-date with world news, and much more. The very fact that we now “decorate” our desktop backgrounds with “wall papers” and “family photographs” is enough to show how much time we spend with our computers and how attached we have become to these machines.

    Dogs have been demoted. The computer has now become “man’s best friend”. We pat it, we hug it, we are proud of it. We place chandhan and kumkum on the monitor on Saraswati Puja day and worship it. Completely understandable, for the computer remains the best and most versatile machine even invented. For a layman it is a calculator, for a child it is a video game, for a researcher it is a friend, for a scientist it is a child, for a programmer it is God. It is everything from a work tool to a companion. That said, let us take care to make good but judicious use of it. While we must make the most use of this versatile machine, we must also make sure we do not become dependent on it.

    Do share your thoughts about what your computer means to you – is it your companion in lull moments, is it your link to your motherland, is it a friend which helps you with almost everything from deciding the night’s dinner menu to children’s school projects, or is it merely a machine?
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    Janani's message to ILites:

    Friends, I may not be able to meet you next month with the technology column, as I will be traveling. Please accept my most sincere apologies, in advance, for playing truant.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2006
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  2. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    good as always

    Hi Janani,

    Read yr latest article, liked it right from the title itself. As always there was something new to learn from this. Was informative and well written.

    Over time, can you write on AI also?

    warm regards
    Vidya
     
  3. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Janani,
    Read your article. It is really good. You have aptly summed up the role of computers in today's world. When I go out of town, I find it very dificult not to ahve a computer, I think I should have a laptop. Once a person is used to having a computer, it is difficult tobe without one. For me, computer is a friend who helps me do my work easily, gets me connected with my friends around the world, helps me plan the daily meno, guides in my son's school projects and what not!
    With warm wishes,
    varloo
     
  4. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    fantastic

    Dear Janani,
    Thatwas a very interesting article.The computer means a lot to me. It connects me to my family when they are away,also i am too dependent on it fornews and entertainment,
    Regards,
    Meenu
     
  5. gjanani

    gjanani New IL'ite

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    Thanks...

    Thanks for sharing your views, and I'm really glad you liked the article.

    Vidya... will cover AI also in one of the future episodes.

    Cheers,
    Janani
     
  6. dhamo1

    dhamo1 New IL'ite

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    Computers ....!

    Dear Janani,
    Nicely worded article but beg to differ from the last few paragraphs. Before I elaborate my views, if the writer knows few programers working in Infy, Wipro, Satyam etc., the last paragraphs might not be written as it was written.

    Most of the programers work 14 to 16 hours every day. After few years of working with their Gods, the Gods become demons to them. They lose their personal life, health, human nature. One of the bad habits of programmers is under estimation of the work. Finally the work will strech around 100%. That is why throughout the software industry, no project ends in time and within budget. Myself having a work experience of two decades, write this after having experienced this kind of situation.

    Few decades back, bank jobs were at premium. Trade unions were there to regulate the working hours. Today, in the premium software sector, programmers are slaves. Now a days I want to keep away from computers.

    I don't disagree with the positive points with computers. But finally, the machines enslave humans... There are many good articles written on this by most successful people in computer industry... :|

    Regards,
    Dhamo
     

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