Why You Should Get Rid Of The Computer

It’s time for a major change for you. Your computers are part of your life — but they’re a distraction. Do you really need to make every one of them a computer that can’t be used for work? Do you really need to keep going and going and turning and burning up your computing dollar just to look? If you do, you may have a problem with productivity. And you may be living in an “anarcho-capitalist” society where you have everything you want but nothing you don’t.

Computers allow you to stay on top of the world, but so do people. The fact is, we need to give the computer back its place as a tool and a companion. Not only should you consider giving it a rest, so should we. If you’re going to carry a computer around wherever you go, perhaps you should give it away? It should be a pleasure to own a personal computer, but not a necessity. If you have one, perhaps you could keep it in a closet or your desk drawer, but should you? Maybe it’s time to give the computer a rest.

The Future of Computers What About the Future of Computers ? The future is a hard thing to predict, especially if you have any sort of technological foresight. We see computer science advances daily, and yet no one knows when those advances will stop. Some of these progress are quite real: The Internet is a thing we can access on almost any computer. You can make phone calls and receive faxes online. It’s easy to learn how to use most of these technologies; you can even learn to fix them. But the Internet is just the first of many breakthroughs in the world of computing. The future of computers includes a computer that controls more of our lives than there is imagination to describe. When we talk to the computer, we expect a reply. We need an application program that automatically writes for us that piece of news to which we are looking for it. When we talk to the computer, we expect it to be able to do the work that we’re ordering from it. We expect the machine to tell time without help, to find the nearest convenience shop, to order a pizza, to play a tune on the radio. The computer is not merely a tool we use; it is a kind of life-form that has evolved itself. It’s like something built by intelligent beings. The same way a living being’s body can adapt to its environment, an individual computer can adapt to the world around it. Computer chips are constantly becoming smaller and cheaper. A computer chip from the mid-eighties could work with fewer than four billion transistors (the components of a classical computer chip). Today you can get a chip with 864 million transistors and even more power. And a chip of 10 billion transistors is planned for the year 2000. The computer of the year 2000 will probably be able to perform more calculations than any man-made computer has done up to now, and it may be able to do those calculations with near-human speed. Imagine what human beings can do with a computer of 10 billion transistors, all working at near-human speed… and you’re starting to get the picture. Even a billionth part of a degree of freedom is an enormous amount of power… to create artificial intelligence… to invent things like the Internet , or the telephone… to improve things we enjoy at least as much as we enjoy the Internet. And this potential power — what may not be there, may well be there — is what scares so many people. Computer programmers and computer scientists, of course, worry about this potential power. Some of them are so convinced that they are about to win World War III, that their efforts in creating the next great computer have been limited to creating algorithms that guarantee their ability to win the war. The result is a great deal of work, some of it useful, some of it stupid, but all of it ultimately counterproductive. (Some of the work we need to make sure our computers aren’t broken.