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Computers – Machines that Changed the Society and Continue to Do It

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As Charles Babbage once said ‘At each increase of knowledge, as well as on the contrivance of every new tool, human labour becomes abridged’. As Charles quoted that new things are achieved by new knowledge or thoughts, I will have to talk about people who were influenced or encouraged by Charles Babbage’s knowledge for the development computers. Mathematics is the foundation of a computer because everything we calculate can be done with a computer. According to Dinesh, ‘the word ‘computer’ was derived from a Latin term ‘computare’ which was referred as a person who do calculations. The essay will result in many places based on different inventors countries, and will be touch a little bit on World War 2. According to Ian (2015), ‘as we have experienced the basic virtual reality headsets that have been programmed using a computers, we can see that there is a lot to be invented like now we have the new Huawei that uses three cameras. We don’t know what the future is holding for us because there are many computers developed each year’. Who knew that as time goes by we will have phones that will have three cameras? Or maybe we will have invisible phones? We shall see what the future is holding for us! And will discuss it in the essay.

‘A computer is a machine or device that performs processes, calculations and operations based on instructions provided by a software or hardware program’). Life before the inventions of ‘computers’ was hard, just like now if they stop manufacturing computers or stop every computer from working, life would stop. The reason being, is that everything we use is programmed by a computer or is a computer. That’s why I say about 95% of our lives depend on them.

The development of computers changed our lives completely and we cannot imagine our lives without them. According to Mastermind Abacus (2013), ‘the first apparatus used for solving mathematical problems and some other things was an Abacus, which was invented in the early 500 B. C. in Asia and it is still used by children for counting purposes’. The invention of an Abacus has many years from different countries so we don’t know the exact time of development/discovery. The first common computer machine was designed in 1834 by a British mathematician, Charles Babbage. It was designed to store memory and to analytical problems, the machine was called Analytical Engine. ‘Charles designed three engine machines, one was the Difference Engine (first machine) in 1821, the Analytical Engine in 1834 and then Difference Engine (second machine) followed in 1847. The machines were named according to their mathematical principle. The Difference machine was designed for solving polynomials while the Analytical machine solves arithmetic problems’, Computer History Museum.

The first machine funding was not granted because the machine needed to use strong materials which would have costed a lot and the Government would not throw away their money for something that they were not sure that it would work. After the Difference machine (second machine) was built in 1991, the machine worked as Charles predicted. From the Computer History Museum research, ‘they found out that before people started to develop their own machines even Charles Babbage, they were asked several questions by the Government. The mainly one was to prove/show that the mathematical statements were true or not’. After analysing how the computers are supposed to do, the development of computers started. Crash Course (2017), ‘the Abacus, from 2700-2300 B. C. , was used for mathematical purposes and for counting the population of the country, since the society was increasing in Sumerian. But before the society started to increase, there were small number of people due to the division of some places (towns/villages). So it was easy to use an Abacus and they can add the total number of people in each town/villages that fall under certain country’. They were used in many countries for such things. ‘In England, they calculated/counted that population after every 10 years, mostly was used for tax purposes. As years went by the population grew rapidly, because of birth rate and visitation rate and it became more difficult to calculate/count. That’s when Herman Hollerith an American inventor, invented a tabulating machine that can store memory, because they faced the same thing as in England, and it was also used for some other thing like dates of marriage, birth or death, using punched cards’.

The history of Alan Turing will not be forgotten because of the role he played during the inventions of computer. ‘Alan Turing was a British computer scientists and a mathematician. He is often called the father of the modern computer’, said Daniele (2016) reason being is that the machine he built compare to the one we use now, they serve the same purpose. According to Imperial War Museums, ‘Alan Turing built a machine that can crack and make codes, which were used by German for communicating. He built the machine to know about their plans of Germany with other countries that were on the same side during the war, in World War 2. The machine that the German used to communicate was called the ‘Enigma’ which was invented by Arther Scherbius, said Andrew (n. d) after World War 1. As soon as Turing found about the Enigma he went to US government to figure out how to crack the machine together’. ‘Meanwhile in Germany, a German computer pioneer, Konrad Zuse built the first programmed electrical machine but during the time he was done building it, no one recognised his work even the newspapers only his parents did. He tried to speak to the German air force military about the machine he was building but they did not see any use of it, since they were at war’, said Pottenger(n. d). He thought his machine would help since there were people who were doing calculation during the war, the purpose he built the machine was to make the calculations easy for the ‘computers’, the ‘computers’ were people who were doing calculations. Even during the years after his invention, as people get awarded for what they have created, he did not get anything. In 1939, Alan Turing machine was built and knew where their opponents were planning, they succeeded in saving millions of lives.

Another machine that has played a big role and changed our lives is the Eniac machine that was built by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert. The machine is called the first electronic general-purpose which was used to solve numerical problems and was the fastest machine ever built. The machine was built at the University of Pennsylvania in 1944 and finished in 1946, with the help from the engineering students. John was an American physicist and needed help with the machine. That’s when he asked Eckert for help because he was an electrical engineer. ‘In 1947 the Eniac was used in the army for artillery firing tables and the settings for the target accuracy’, Mary (2018). The Eniac occupied a large space of the room and was required to use the large amount of electricity for it to work, luckily they got the funding from the American military.

There are many people who played a major role in the inventions, some were recognised and some were not, some got the patent and some did not but their work must be respect. ‘After the inventions of Charles, the following inventors were inspired and knew everything is possible when you think. As we can see that the computers we use now are different to the ones in 19th century and early 20th century’, said Jeremy (n. d). All thank to Steve Jobs, Steve Wazniak, Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee and so many more. ‘Steve Jobs and Steve Wazniak invented the computer that is almost similar to the one we are using now. The first computer was built by Steve Wazniak, called Apple 1, it had only the keyboard and must be attached to a TV. He then worked with Steve jobs and improved the Apple 1 to Apple 2 which had its own screen and it became more useful in homes and in offices/businesses’, Anonymous (2013), surely it was heavy to carry around. People reacted happily that they get to try the new computer ever, just like now when people heard about iPhone Xs. As Nik (2017) states, ‘according to Steve Jobs bibliography the word apple was conceived by jobs after he returned from the apple farm. The idea of the logo was found from the theory of Newton about the falling apple but they made it more far simpler by the bite’. Before the invention of apple there were inventors who invented parts that can be used by the computer. Most of them were the mouse, the disc that can store data/memory and the parts that can make the computer to function faster, etc. Later then, the first Apple that used a mouse was invented. After the invention of Apple many computers were invented by different companies. The other product that change our lives is Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and website we used find information, the ‘World Wide Web’ founded by Tim Berners-Lee. They are still continuing to do good things. The computers had different functions, like now iPhone and Samsung may be seen the same regardless of the appearance, but in fact they are different according to the system they are using. As time goes by more-and-more better functioning computers will be invented.

What is life without a computer? According to Anonymous (2016), ‘nowadays we cannot imagine our life without computers and the fact is that they have become so important that nothing can replace them’. Without computers life would be a mess, cars would stop function, businesses would stop, people salary would be issued and people would die. Justine (2016), ‘by 2030 the computers will be able to read our minds and can be controlled with our minds’. Well that’s a great thing for people who are deaf, they can use it to communicate with other people since the computer is has voices these days. Also for people with disabilities, can be helped with walking properly.

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