Computers play a huge role in the modern world. We can get an idea of how huge a
role this is if we examine some of the things in the modern world that we rely
on and mostly take for granted.
Telecommunication, transport, banking and
finance -- the most important features of the modern world -- are heavily
dependent on computers in order to function. A computer failure in any of these
areas can incapacitate it, and perhaps the
other areas too. The consequences can be anything from inconvenience to
disaster. You may have experience the inconvenience of being unable to withdraw
money from a bank because its computer is 'down'. So you wait until they fix the
computer and you can withdraw money again. What happens if the down time should
last several days ? The inconvenience could turn to indignation for you and
disaster some businesses.
Can you imagine what can happen if crucial computers fail in the transport
systems, for example, the airlines ? Flight schedules can be severely
interrupted, passengers can miss flights or board the wrong ones, or worst of
all, accidents can happen. Air-traffic controllers rely on computers to direct
aircraft landing and taking off. In a busy airport, aircrafts take off and land
within seconds of each other. This is clearly impossible without computers.
Another area in which computers are very important is telecommunication.
Today we communicate with one another via the telephone, fax machine and the
Internet. The ease and speed of communication is
unprecedented in the history of mankind. All we need is to press some
buttons or log on to the Internet and we get to communicate instantly with each
other. Physical distance matters little. Satellites, fiber optics and other
devices make sure that we can communicate from the comfort of our homes,
anywhere in the world as long we have the equipment to do it.
Certainly this is all fantastic, but what can happen if the computers stop
working, even if it were to be for a short while. Have you ever felt the
exasperation of being unable to ring your friend or retrieve an email ? We are
literally plunged straight back to the days of our forefathers when messages
took days and weeks to reach their destination.
Computers are here to stay and their importance is undeniable. In fact, they
are indispensable. More and more they become
part of our lives. Without computers, living will be like a hundred years ago --
no email, no ATM machines, no credit cards, no Internet and no video games. For
us in this modern world, that would be unimaginable.