Computers—Who Needs Them?

When I first became involved with computers in 1971, the answer to this question was usually, "Big business needs them to keep track of all of their data.” At that time the public didn’t think computers would become common in the work place as well as in our homes. Today, when I ask the same question to people, the response is quite difterent. Many people say they use a microcomputer for word processing or spread sheets. Others wonder what kind of system to buy for home or complain that a computer system has sent them the wrong bill or information. In other words, computers are an integral part of our lives whether we like it or not, The real question that must be considered is: “Computers--How can we best use them to make our work easier?”

Today, we find personal computers everywhere in business as well as in many homes. Today’s personal computers are fast, powerful machines found on the desks of a large percentage of business people. General software systems are available that can be adapted by the users to meet a majority of their needs. In general, computers have become a common tool for doing business.

The future trend in computers is more computing power in a small package at about the same price as current computers. This additional power will be used to run better human interface programs and to support more sophisticated applications. Also, the millions of personal computers will be linked into large company networks so data can be easily exchanged between different users. More intelligent software will be developed to handle complex tasks currently done by people and more industrial specific software systems will be written. Although the technology changes may not be as drastic as in the last ten years, the new technologies will eventually change the way we do business in the future.

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