The first computer was invented in the middle of the twentieth century. This machine was hardly comparable to modern laptops or PCs. At that time, it was called Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), and its only task was to solve a large amount of numerical problems. They were quite complex in use, and the modern PC user would hardly understand the principles of its work. Since that time, the humanity has entered a new digital era; however, the computers were still the means of solving complex tasks. In the 1980s-1990s, there was made a significant breakthrough which led the computers to a totally new level. The development of first PCs was a step toward simplifying computers, making them more available to average citizens who did not have deep knowledge in mathematics or software engineering.
With the popularization of computers, people believed that they would give them additional opportunities which could make life easier and more comfortable. Computers could solve many tasks faster and with more accuracy. The appearing of the Internet has opened a new page in the history of people-computers connection.
Today, it is difficult to imagine life without computers; they have successfully integrated into every sphere of human activity. However, the initial idea of the computers has changed over the time. Nowadays, computers perform a lot of functions, many of which have simplified the life of people so much that they cannot imagine a day without their devices. People have become too dependent on computers, and there even appeared a new term ‘computer addiction,’ which has reached the scale of alcohol and drug addictions.
Positive and Negative Effects
Computer dependence can be divided in two categories. The first one is computerization of almost all industries. Today, any manufacturing, designing, constructing, or development is closely connected with the computers, even the successes in medicine would be impossible without computers. Another category is non-professional dependence on the computers. The first case prdetermines that people need computers in professional activities to complete the targeted goals, bring some new opportunities for humanity on a global scale, while the second category includes computer dependence with roots lying in those additional opportunities which computers give to people, like entertainments (Morley, 2013). Computer entertainment dependence has become a real disease of the twenty-first century because it replaced almost all other ways of usual entertainment.
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As it was mentioned above, the dependence on computers as the means of entertainment has change the modern society a lot. Computers have successfully integrated in every sphere of people’s life. For example, the problem of social networks is the result of computerization (John, 2013). People started spending less time in the real world and prefer to chat online. Beside the online communication that has replaced the face-to-face meetings, computer dependence is brightly observed in the sphere of computer game addiction. The situation has dramatically changed within the last decade when the designers of computer games started making them so real and exciting that game players received a new version of reality which is known as cyber world. Games for computers or other platforms were created earlier, and there were a lot of people who liked to spend a couple of hours a day, playing a favorite game. Today, the cyber world became too attractive, and it provides unlimited opportunities for its users who prefer to spend as much time in the cyber world as they can, losing interest to the real life (John, 2013). Sometimes, this addiction is so strong that if a person does not receive an access to the computer, the individual starts experiencing symptoms typical of drug-addicted people. Such a person cannot perceive the environment adequately and may even be dangerous for the society or even relatives. In news, one can find many examples when teenagers killed their parents who tried to save their children from computer dependence, using radical methods.
Beside the computer games dependence, there are mmany other ways which are less harmful, but they still make people be dependent on computers. For example, a term ‘techno-lust’ describes a category of people who have a necessity to buy new gadgets in order to satisfy their emotional well-being. Every day, new models of gadgets appear on the market, and many people feel the incredible passion buying these devices (Hengeveld, 2012). Computers have also changed people’s comfort zone, making them more dependent on modern gadgets. Today, there is no need to go shopping, buy food in stores, stay in long lines to buy a ticket to a concert, and worry whether the person has turned off the light leaving the home. All these actions can be done using a gadget from any place: in a bus, in the workplace, or during lunch time (Hengeveld, 2012). People started spending less time on routine tasks due to the computers; and today, the modern society cannot imagine its life without such a helper as a computer.
Computer dependence is also introduced as a necessity that can save people’s lives, provide protection, and can even be used to provide the high quality medicine treatment. If one views computers not only like gadgets or the means of entertainment but a machine which performs complex functions, then the role of computers in modern life is not overestimated. Due to the computers program the government provides the protection of its population. Computers help coordinate actions between soldiers; they are also used to navigate aircrafts without human control. The nuclear arsenal of the United States, Russia, or China is also controlled with the help of computer programs.
How Can We Help?
Computers have made a significant breakthrough in medicine (Miesenberger, Fels, Archambault, Penaz & Zagler, 2014). Today, many complex operations, especially in regard to heart diseases, become possible due to computers, which allow surgeons to complete them more accurately with minimal risk for human life. People’s health examinations and the correct diagnosis are also a contribution that computers have made in medicine (Anderson & Jay, 2012).