How Do Computers Relate To People?

They don’t. People have to relate to them instead. But we are such adaptable creatures we may not realize this is happening. That we have become hybrid beings – part human and part computer.

This is such a spooky subject that we refuse to think about it – which, needless to say, is not a very smart response. Right when we need our smarts the most – we don’t have any!

After the Reformation, the world became divided into the Protestant North and the Catholic South. The North became industrial and affluent – while the South remained poor – and undeveloped. I will now speak only of developments in the North – and effects of this industrial development on its people. Concentrating on developments in America.

The industrial economy needed workers to operate its machines – and these workers were not supposed to think about what they were doing – so they didn’t! They just reproduced, until they were most of the population.

This situation lasted from the end of the 19th Century to the middle of the 20th – through WWI, the Depression, and WWII. This economy had two components – manufacturing and transportation.

After wars between companies and unions (and they were wars) – a middle class emerged – that could make a comfortable living in the factories and railroads. They also made automobiles and new roads for them to run on. Every American had a car – and sometimes several of them.

They didn’t have to do much thinking – but they had to do some. And this caused problems, that came to a head in the Vietnam War. At the same time they were hit by TV, and then the Computer. In short – all Hell broke loose!

Of which, most Americans knew (and still know) nothing. They look around at all kinds of things going on around them – and understand nothing. Except that they don’t have many jobs anymore – which drives them crazy!

To finish, I must return to the subject – the relationship between us and the computer. A very complicated relationship – but also a very interesting one.

Me and my computers are watching this from a safe distance – in rural Costa Rica.

 

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