A tool to extend man’s brain
Every tool that man developed-from plow, to wheel, to pulley, to engine-was inspired by a desire to lighten the work load. The computer is perhaps the most refined instrument in this historic sequence. It springs from the same purpose as the others except that it involves mental rather than physical labors. As the other tools increase man’s physical output, the computer, in lightening his mental burdens, frees his mind for greater heights of creativity.
Systems by mechanics
Once man perfected his early basic tools he learned to multiply their effectiveness by joining related labor-saving devices to one another with mechanical ligaments. Thus the winch modified the pulley; the gear gave new purpose to the cogged wheel. The Romans used a combination of all these units connected with ropes and treadmills to make up a single system of rotary motion. This early system supplied water to the Roman aqueducts which in turn fed the vast network of irrigation canals in the arid lands of North Africa and Spain.
When such systems became refined and predictable in operation, they began to be termed “machines.” For a machine to function at all, each of its interrelated parts must do its job. Should one fail, the line of mechanical unity falters and the machine must break down. As progress in the scientific age heightened, more demands were made on the machine. To increase speeds, higher tolerances of exactitude became necessary and with them greater need for monitoring devices. The electronic computer has become that essential device, serving as watchdog and control guide in keeping intact the interrelationships of many of today’s complex industrial systems. Such exactitude is achievable by human effort, but at an infinitely slower and more tedious pace. Therefore, the efficiency of our current technological state is intricately connected to the capacity of the electronic computer.
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