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The role of computers

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As we all know, computers can be found everywhere these days. They have changed the way we think, live and study, etc. The fact that computers have made incredible changes to our society, makes them very special invention. Although they might be only as important as other inventions such as electricity, airplanes, etc, it is their ability to be programmed to perform an amazing variety of tasks distinguishes computers from all the other inventions. Computers are playing an effective role in different fields such as Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, High Definition Television (HDTV), Video Games and other social sciences. However, just like any other invention and new technology, computers have their own issues and problems. Rosenberg (1997) claims that there are two ways to discuss social issues arising from the increasing use of computers:

By categorization. Each major application area is studied and the particular problems identified and characterized.

To propose a list of areas of social concern or potential problems. Then explore each application to determine whether it exemplifies one or more of those problems.

Computers have affected the life of so many people by taking their job. The reason for this matter is that it is cheaper and easier to use a computer for doing a job rather than using humans. Computers can work faster, longer and more accurate. They only need a little bit of attention (e.g. monthly repair) to get the job done, whereas humans need food, energy, a good stage of mind and physical ability. According to Rowe (1988), occupations can be divided into three basic groups:

Occupations that will hardly be affected at all: farm laborers, trawlermen, general laborers, top management, leisure employee.

Occupations that will be minimally affected: security and protection specialists, professional staffs, catering, hairdressing and other personal services, education, health and welfare services, construction and mining.

Occupations that will be considerably affected: handling and storing, clerical work, manufacturing workers, repair workers, middle management, foremen, financial and ‘information’ employee.

Rosenberg (1997) says that ‘the number of blue collar jobs is decreasing. The number of service and information jobs is increasing. Agricultural jobs are now only about 3% of the total. Fewer people are producing the products and food for an entire country.’

Education and study system have been largely affected by computers. Nowadays, it is very common for students to ask their teacher any questions regarding the subject they’re studying through email. It is a normal thing to download homework and materials if they have missed the previous classes. According to Rosenberg (1997), ‘computers and the internet will allow students to learn at their own pace. They will not be judgmental, impatient, or unsympathetic. Appearance, social class and race are irrelevant.’ Although the use of computers can be very affective, but there are many who claim that the role of a teacher in the classroom is more important than using computers. Some suggest the use of both. ‘The teacher still continues to play an important role in the facilitation of math, science and technology investigations through computer-based instruction. Teachers have the opportunity to demonstrate the software, allow students to practice using software and the assign learning tasks at the students grade or ability level that are aligned with the specific overall expectations’ (Pieters 2001).

Music industry has experienced a huge metamorphose since the first computers where introduced. Rosenberg (1997) claims that ‘this is not very surprising, because even before computers were invented, music could be represented by means of an electronic signal that is readily available for a computer to modify.’ almost every acoustic instrument can be played by a computer. Sophisticated recording studios make the impossible possible and more than 1000 different albums are produced every year. There are tons of different computer softwares which make it possible and easy for normal people with no knowledge of music to make their own song and rhythms, which makes the music industry more competitive and challenging. Computers also can be used as a practicing tool.

‘At the practical level, the machine can be used as a training tool by a would-be jazz performer. Learning alone is not efficient, as one tends to speed up at easier passages and slow down at difficult ones, while swing requires perfect mastery of tempo – more so than in classical music. Learning with a metronome does not allow the interaction provided by a dynamically changing rhythm section, and learning from records of rhythm sections is repetitive and inflexible, as no change of tempo and of key, nor any repetition of isolated and difficult passages, are possible’ (Baggi 1998).

Computers have given humans a great opportunity to have a better life. They have made learning easier and more fun. They help humans get in touch easier and for less cost. Almost every college student needs a computer (or owns one) to handle their studies and do their assignment. Computers help humans make music, edit movies, check their bank account, talk to friends, play games, learn, teach, etc. However, there has to be some sacrifices for all these possibilities. More jobs are being lost to computers every day in every field. Children are spending more time playing computer games or surfing the internet, rather than going out and doing sports or playing with their friends, which will result in having more fat unhealthy children than before. So just like any other new technology, computers have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to humans to balance their life. It depends on how computers are being used, rather than how much. Better education in how and when to use computers could help the society to balance their life better and not depend their whole life on computers.


Rosenberg, R.S. 1997, _The Social Impact of Computers_, Second Edition, Academic Press, inc. USA.

Rowe, C. 1986, _People and Chips_, Paradigm Publishing, London.

Pieters, G. July 12, 2001, ‘The Role of Computer-Based Instruction in the
Effective Teaching and Learning of Math, Science and Technology in Elementary Classrooms’, [Online], viewed on 5/8/2007, Available at: http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~gpieters/1601/cbi-mst.html

Baggi, D.L. December 9, 1998, ‘The Role of Computer Technology in Music and Musicology’,[Online], viewed on 5/8/2007, Available at: http://lim.dico.unimi.it/eventi/ctama/baggi.htm

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