The Social Effects Of The Computer

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's April 2001

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Every person living in a modern society is affected in some way by advancements in technology. Some of these new technologies have made it possible to communicate easier, quicker, and more efficiently. One of these technologies is the computer, which has made an enormous impact on society. It has changed the way we communicate and the way that we live our lives.

There were many technologies that lead up to and paved the way for the invention of the computer that we know today. In the early 1600's, an English clergyman named William Oughtred invented the slide rule. This device allowed the user to multiply and divide by sliding two pieces of wood together. The slide rule is an early example of an analog computer, which measures instead of counts (Laudon 40). This instrument served its purpose so well that scientists continued to use it until the 1950's. Later, in 1642, a man named Blaise Pascal built one of the first mechanical computing machines called a Pascaline.

This machine used a series of wheels and cogs to add and subtract numbers (Laudon 41).

Scientists continued to struggle with the problem of accurate computing 150 years later as science and math were becoming more intricate. At this time, a man named Charles Babbage invented a model called the difference engine. Made of toothed wheels and shafts, this machine could do computations and create charts showing the numbers in squares and cubes (Laudon 41). More impressive then the difference machine is another machine that Babbage began to dream up but never created. This idea was that of an analytical machine. Some parts of this design are remarkably similar to that of our present day computers. These parts foreshadowed the development of the stored program concept and the general purpose computing nature of...