What is a computer? The film defines it as a machine that changed the world. While everyone else thinks that a computer was developed for many purposes that it performs today, the film presents the only reason why the computer was first invented; to carry out arithmetic. This film starts with a brief summary of the impacts of computers on everyday life (The Machine That Changed the World, 1992). The film gives the definition in its first episode, as well as the history of making the first computer by Shanks and Babbage. At this stage, one would be interested to know, is that all that qualifies it as The Machine That Changed the World? Having been adopted for its ability to perform complex calculations that were impossible for people to do, while eliminating the mistakes involved in calculations, it ended doing more than anticipated.
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The inventors thought, yes, the computer could do the manual work, which is too complex for man so easily. Why not think as well? If it could calculate, which requires a real man to involve his mind so hard, could it fail to do the thinking too? Out of such thoughts, a calculator has emerged as a perfect replacement for most of the humans in undertaking various activities. In addition, it has gone an extra mile to do what man could not do, precisely at once. This simultaneity is the aspect that made this machine change the world, in that it can entertain with music, watching films, while at the same time offering the channel for socialization and communication besides processing data and performing arithmetic. Can man do all this at once? No, the machine changed the world.
Is that all the machine can do? There is more to computers today than one can possibly put down. Most notable is the creation of the World Web, which can supply man with any type of information known to man. Moreover, what is the relationship between this source of information and the computers? One may ask. It is only through the computer that the web and its contents can be used. Thus, today, computers are indispensable in schools, offices, by defense departments for intelligence information search, as well as at homes for personal use (The Machine That Changed the World, 1992)
Nevertheless, is it accurate to credit the computer with all these achievements without acknowledging the efforts of man in making it achieve them? On its own, the computer remains a calculator even to date. The basics of computer operations are the digits 0 and 1. While one might think that a programming language is a typical complex language un-understandable by man, it is not the case. Any function of the computer is enhanced through a variation in the combination of these digits. What makes it be in a position to do all the other tasks such as process documents and files, play games, music and movies as well as communicate is the effort of human work; programs. With the programs and software created by man, the computer is enhanced to operate more than a mere calculator. To do all that man would want done for him because he can create the program that would address his needs (The Machine That Changed the World, 1992).
However, has the computer just achieved without causing man any harm? This is not the case. With the advancement in computer production and software provision, more manual tasks were programmed for undertaking by the computers, raising the fear of job losses.
There were many challenges associated with the advent of the computer usage, such as size and complexity of use, which called for further modifications. Nevertheless, this has been addressed making the current computers portable and easier to use because of the creation of human friendly and simple interfaces (The Machine That Changed the World, 1992). Currently, life without computers is simply un-imaginable because the current generations are born and raised with them.
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