The Role of Computers in Modern Life:
The twentieth century has witnessed a great advance in science and technology, and its applied form. The latest in this development is computer technology, which has come like a worldwide technical revolution. A computer is essentially a processing machine that can perform several important functions in a very short time. The functions are repetitive calculations, storage of information, decision making, providing information to the programmer on the basis of the information fed into the machine, control over certain other devices through signals, and helping in diagnosing diseases accurately.
During the last two decades, computer technology has shown remarkable development. Computers of various sizes and shapes have come up. The functions they perform now belong to different fields, ranging from space research to the diagnosis of diseases and industrial technology. They are now being used extensively in manufacturing and processing industries, power distribution system, airline, and railway reservation systems.
Computers are of tremendous help in offices too. Long and complicated information can be stored in computers and summoned at will. Besides, the data fed into the computers can be mixed and reorganized according to need. The old filing system for preserving information is becoming redundant. In departments such as income tax, where large documentation is necessary computers are providing very helpful indeed.
In the field of medicine, computers are used for diagnosing illness, monitoring patients, curing ailments, surgery, etc. For example, a pacemaker is a little computer, which is fixed inside patients having heart problems. Similarly, computers can be used to control tiny remote cameras which can take pictures inside the body and help doctors make diagnoses. Also, medical students learning surgery can practice operations on computers through virtual reality.
In space research, satellites and space laboratories are being controlled from a distance of millions of miles. The position of a Satellite in space can be adjusted, its functioning controlled and its defective parts repaired from the space laboratories on the earth. Computer technology has thus started working like what people used to dream of doing with the help of magic.
In industry, computers are proving to be highly helpful and effective. In the publishing industry, computers are making it possible to change and adjust the size of letters, opt for different varieties of print, and what is more, print accurately. In the textile industry, computer-made designs not only save a lot of labor but can also pour out design after design through combination and permutation of the material fed into them. In industrial sciences, computer technology not only provides accuracy but also speed and efficiency. There is now hardly any industry in which computers are not used, or cannot be used.
Scientists and technologists in the whole of the world are busy further improving and expanding the scope of computers. In printing, computers are doing the job much more effectively and accurately than human hands used to do before. In arts, especially painting, caricature, and music, computers, are being employed more and more frequently. They are very useful in making animation films too. A time may soon come when computerized robot slaves may start working in our houses. Designs, of such computers, have already been made, only the cost of production needs to be reduced.
Computers have thus become the new favorites. Because of their accuracy and fast work, they are regarded as a miraculous inventions of science. It needs to be said, however, that computers, like all other machines, are human inventions. They do not have any independent thinking power. They can only act according to the information and skill put into them. And both of these- the information and the skill to manipulate the given information- are given by human beings. So computers like traditional machines can be good slaves but bad masters if we submit ourselves entirely to them.