The Evolution of Computers

February 22, 2013 Aaliyah Madadi

It was just over 70 years ago when the Z3, the world’s first fully automated and programmable computer, was invented by Konrad Zuse. Computers during this era could fill up an entire room and it took 3 to 5 seconds to process a multiplication equation. The Mark I computer, created by IBM and Harvard University, was developed a few years after the Z3 and started making computations for the US Navy Bureau of Ships in May 1944. The computer was 8 feet tall, weighed 5 tons, utilized 500 miles of wire, and was turned by a 5 horsepower electric motor.

It’s clear that computers have come a long way since these early years and are now faster, smaller, sleeker, and cheaper to develop. However, an interesting statement by Business Insider’s Nicolas Carlson points out a trend where the evolution of computers is also bringing devices closer and closer to our faces.

From Ground to Face

The first computers were massive – they filled entire rooms, took a long time to build, and comprised hundreds of thousands of components. Needless to say, they weren’t portable and were impractical devices for the general public.

Next came desktop computers, such as the IBM 5100 and Apple I, which were the first computers to infiltrate the mass consumer market. These computers took up less space and as the name suggests, were commonly placed on top of desks.

Laptops came next, giving users greater freedom to carry their devices around and to use them in new places such as their couch or chair. Laptops ultimately enabled portability to a greater degree than previous computers allowed.

After laptops came mobile devices – namely, cell phones and tablets. These devices brought computers to the palm of our hands and their mobility has strongly intertwined daily activities with technology. Think about how much you use your phone – could you go a day without it? Does it feel weird if you forget it at home? Do you use it for basic functions such as checking the weather or using a map? With their increased portability comes their increased integration into our daily lives.

So what’s next? The inception of devices such as Google Glasses is the next step in the computer evolution that will bring devices to our face. These incremental steps forward in technology ultimately affect our interaction with reality, and the implications of devices such as Google Glasses suggest a reality that’s defined by technology. As sci-fi as it sounds, this is the direction that many argue will lead humans to a point of singularity with technology.

What do you think about this trend? Do you think humans and technology will ever fully merge? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

After graduating from the HBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Aaliyah launched her career as Marketing Coordinator at Uberflip! Prior to her HBA, Aaliyah also completed a Bachelor in English at Western University.

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