World Without Computers
Much of our modern culture in someway or another is built around the technology of computers. It is hard for many of us, especially those of us among the younger generations to accurately picture a world without such technology. Much of this has to do with how efficient communication has become. With the advent of cell phones mediums of telecommunication such as payphones and even home phones have begun to fade in importance. But phones are not nearly the only technologies drastically affected by the increasing evolution of computers. The computer, is in many ways, the closest device humanity has to a universal machine. Fields such as entertainment, news, science, almost any technology pertaining to some sort of communication or process of information have been taken over by computers. Without them the world would be drastically different.
The largest difference I imagine in a world without computers is the physical socialization of cultures. With the advent of the internet, several social media sites such as facebook and youtube have allow people from cultures spread across the world to interact with each other on a daily basis. On a more professional scale most companies require employees to work with other groups thousands of miles away on long term projects, never meeting face to face (not to mention an increased emphasis on online applications drastically reducing face to face interactions in the business world). Companies are also interacting with their customers more and more online as opposed to in the store. Where in older communities it was common to find a down town area within walking distance of most residents, nowadays it is not uncommon for some to have to drive up to ten miles to their “local” shopping centers. This development is in part due to automobiles but has also been pushed forward by the internet’s ability to provide online shopping, making it less and less necessary to leave the house in order to make purchases (in many cases it is actually easier to find what you’re looking for online than driving around from store to store, and often cheaper). Without computers I believe that the world would continue to build older style communities with a heavier emphasis on physical town centers. (In addition I also believe that services such as the Postal Service would be much more vital without forms of visual/written electronic communication)
Another important factor to consider is the speed at which digital computers have allowed technology to advance. The electronic processing of complex information by machines launched a chain reaction in technological development. I believe that without such electronic processors humankind as a whole would have not developed nearly to the point that it has today in contemporary society. MRI’s, the internet, mp3 music, countless number of technologies that define our culture today down to the most simple calculator in a grade school math class define who we are as a culture today. A world without the internet is difficult enough to imagine, but a modern world without any form of computer… I am not sure it can be accurately imagined. Perhaps it would look something like a more socially liberal form of the 1940′s.