From Screeching Dot-Matrix Printers To The Gateways Of The World

It is hard for me to think of the time before computers entered our household. I don’t remember my childhood or youth without all the electronics. I must say the house was pretty lively. Sometimes you would think of it more of an office setting. It was common some mornings to wake up to the sounds of a paper shredder, or an automatic paper tri-folder.  Or the best one: that annoying screeching sound of the old dot-matrix printer. Listening to that sound these days would probably drive someone insane. I don’t think we were a normal family though.

I remember playing the classical games on my Commodore 64: Bubble Bobble, Jumpman, Dig Dug, and Choplifter! Eventually, the Commodore had to go away to make room for Windows! Windows 95 was the first OS I can remember having from then. But the Commodore was the first computer I had. It makes sense to me why I have this thing for computers and electronics. I was surrounded by it at a young age. There were times when I would go to my friend’s house and it would make me feel uncomfortable because it was so… silent, and… electronic-less. I was freaking weird, I know. But that was when I knew how much I enjoyed being around it. I was a nerd then as well, but I still played with dirt. And I ate just about as much dirt as all the other kids during those times. These were the times though, long ago but not forgotten.

Now we live in different in a different time. Let me switch thoughts here and take a different track. Up until now I have been talking about personal computers. Those blocks of steel that sit on or below your desk. A typical desktop computer or laptop. But what is a computer in general? According to definition, a computer is:

“An electronic device which is capable of receiving information (data) in a particular form and of performing a sequence of operations in accordance with a predetermined but variable set of procedural instructions (program) to produce a result in the form of information or signals.”

Basically, an electronic device that can be given information as input, and in return, changes it to give you an output based on a set of instructions or program. Your cellphone is a computer. The GPS in your car is also a computer. Raspberry Pi and Arduino? They are both microcomputers. I like to think that computers are a gateway. A gateway to – just about anywhere and everywhere! Whatever you wish to accomplish, you can do so through the use of a computer (or your mind, if you are a genius). There is no true limit. And if there were a limit, then it would be your mind.

We have made major technological advances. We are able to build robots that move like us. Or cars that drive like us (or way better, depending on the person). We can program robots that interact with other robots. We can make electronics act, and do, practically anything that humans can do. And we can make them perform better than us. If that isn’t enough, think of the countless electronic sensors that help us with our daily lives. All through the use of small computers.

When asked if I am more introverted or extroverted, I would like to think that I am both. Do I necessarily prefer to deal with the outer world through the use of a computer? Not necessarily. I live a normal life not glued to a computer. But… I could. Anyone could! Why? Because it is absolutely possible! With the IoT (Internet of Things) growing, all of your small and large devices will be able to communicate with each other, which in turn will communicate information to you, making the way you live a little easier (hopefully at least). That’s the goal anyway.

Should we be scared in thinking that robots could take over our lives? I am a person who believes in hard work, physically and mentally. I grew up in a world where if you wanted something than you had to put in the effort to get it, instead of having it given to you. I still believe in this way now. On the other hand, I think it is incredible how we can build robots that can manipulate the same actions as humans, allowing them to do work for us. They think for themselves and I just find that fascinating. But they can’t repair themselves, and they can’t re-program themselves either. At least not yet. So in that aspect, there will always be a human work force because computers are still not perfect. And the human mind is still (and will always be) much smarter and more complex than any computer.


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