Since their initial concept, development, and implementation, computers and computer services have come a long way in only 70 years. Aside from the technology advancing in simply its own accord, these developments have shaped the world into what it is today and has ushered in the “Information Age.”
The computer went from research equipment in a massive warehouse to a device that can be held in one hand. Communications and infrastructure improved along with the hardware, putting the world in the position it is in today: one of instant data access, greater education, an endlessly developing encyclopedia on the internet, and new challenges in regards to privacy and the use of time in a workplace. According to Moore’s law, the power of computing machinery increases at an exponential rate. And at this (exponential) rate of development, the technology available in the near future will be astonishing.
Let’s start at the inception of the technology age and development of the computer. Initially, scientists and engineers produced what were in effect digital calculators. These machines used electricity to solve math problems. They also took up an entire warehouse of space! With rapid growth, including smaller and more efficient hardware, the computer would find its way into the more or less daily operation of certain tasks.
In 1971, Intel produced and marketed what would be known as the first “microprocessor.” This shrunk the floor plan of a computer machine even further. In addition, IBM developed the first floppy disk, easing the task of removing and transferring information. In 1975, Altair released the Model 8800 Computer Kit. This allowed consumers to get a hold of these devices and start experimenting. In 1977, the Commodore PET and Apple II Computers were released. The time of consumer computers had come.
1980 brought us the “hard drive”, from Seagate. This allowed for 5x more storage than a floppy disk and smaller form factor still. In 1981, the Osbourne 1 Mobile Computer was released. This was the beginning of the “laptop” computer. In 1982, the Commodore 64 was released. As a fully functioning unit out of the box and a reasonable price, the Commodore 64 became the greatest selling single computer model in history. More people than ever are becoming accustomed to digital technologies.
In 1983, Apple released the Lisa. This was the first computer with a graphical user interface, and a mouse. From here things have moved very quickly. The first mobile phones were being released, and computers now only needed to be lighter, faster and cheaper to keep a hold of the market. The foundation for how to work with personal computers had been laid.
This would soon merge with other digital devices to create the vast network of people and electronics we have today. Within a roughly 70 year window, no technology aside from medicine has had a deeper impact on people and society. This shift in operation is what will propel the new information age; and surely with jaw dropping results.