The university started using computers over 20 years ago, and since then, their usage has grown steadily. The UI now has well over 100 different computers including Visual Display Terminals (VDTs).
In the early days of the computer, only experts, scientists and researchers could operate one. For example, those who benefited from UI’s first computer composed a very small group - researchers who understood computer design and languages and graduate students who were learning about programming and design from these experts.
Today’s computers, however, radically differ from the earlier models. Anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence can learn to operate one. Computer operations and manuals have been simplified. In fact, almost all facets of this university depend on computers, from the Vice President of Finances who must juggle the dwindling budget to the English graduate student writing a thesis.
Moreover, Thomas predicts that in the future, computers will play an even more important role at the university and in industry. “I believe it’s ridiculous to teach business, office equipment, or even architecture without exposing the student to computers,” Thomas exclaimed. “Today, more and more businesses are depending on computers because they simplify work and save money. For example, the word processor has made the teaching of typing almost obsolete. Naturally, people will still use typewriters, but in the business world, the word processor is replacing them.”
Although computers are popular, especially with younger people, some people still fear that the computer indicates that Big Brother is just around the corner. However, Thomas claims that this is not the case. “Computers will never replace people,” he argued. “Nor will they communicate your ideas to someone else - they help only to clarify those ideas.”
As for Big Brother… Well? Whatever we may feel about computers - be it fear, regret, or excitement - we best get used to them.