I started my first job as a computer programmer on 2nd February 1981, so today marks my fortieth anniversary in the computer industry. Things were certainly a lot simpler then than they are now. All we had to worry about in those days was problem-solving, as there were no viruses and very few hackers. We were still using rolls of paper tape with holes punched in them, and our equipment was slow and had very little memory. However, the hardware that we had was dedicated to doing real work, and we didn’t have to spend much time and effort on security.
The computer industry today is a lot more diverse than it was forty years ago, and the equipment that’s available is much more powerful. Modern computers, tablets, and even mobile telephones have phenomenal capabilities. These devices are not just for technical people, but for everyone, and many services such as video and audio streaming, e-mail, online shopping, and social media, have altered our lives. However, technology has also introduced many problems, not least of which is the loss of the personal touch in many of our daily dealings.
The ‘computer says no’ attitude is common now, but computers are supposed to be helping us, not making decisions that are very hard for us to fight. As we continue to ‘progress’, I hope that ethical humans will be in charge, not giant corporations and faceless machines.