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What are advantage and disadvantages of using computers?

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The introduction of desktop computing revolutionized the way people live.  The internet, word processing programs, spreadsheets, power point slides, editing of film and more all represented a radical transformation in the manner in which everyday tasks are conducted, especially when computers are linked to cell phones.  There is no question that computers have made life much easier in many respect.  The American public has never in its history enjoyed greater routine access to information, and no people in human history have experienced the level of connectivity that modern information technologies provide.  Reports that used to be handwritten, then typed, with corrections processes involving cumbersome methods, are now easily written and edited on computers.  Mathematical computations that used to take hours or longer are now performed nearly instantaneously.  All manner of professional and personal activities have been made easier through the use of computers.  Computers store millions of pages of data and documents that would otherwise require warehouses to store.  The advantages of computers are seen in every facet of life.

The disadvantages of computers are both theoretical and practical.  The most significant disadvantage to reliance on computers is their vulnerability to hacking, viruses, denial of service attacks, and other computer crimes.  There is a flip side to every coin, and with respect to computers, their enormous capacity for storage of data, including personal information, makes their susceptibility to intrusions and accidents particularly problematic.  Entire networks can be brought down to the detrimental of thousands or even millions of people by a single accident or criminal attack. 

Another weakness of computers is more philosophical or theoretical, and that involves the question of whether children raised on computers are no longer learning the fundamentals.  When hand-held calculators were introduced in the 1970s, many people were concerned that children with such devises would no longer learn how to solve mathematical equations, and whether such a development would diminish future generations’ abilities to perform the kind of engineering and innovations that created calculators and computers in the first place.  Enough time has passed to suggest that his is not a valid concern, but the longer-term ramifications of reliance on computers are yet to be determined.

Finally, some people have expressed concerns regarding the long-term effects on society of reliance on computers for communications.  In effect, are teenagers playing computer games and texting missing out on the crucial aspect of childhood development that involves socialization?  Again, early indications suggest such concerns may be unwarranted, but a very real and very serious problem that does exist concerns the anonymity that computers provide to pedophiles and bullies who use computers and cell phones to taunt and humiliate their targets.  This problem can be considered perhaps the most pernicious ramification of the extent to which computers have become an integral part of our lives.

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What are the advantages of computers? 

The advent of desktop computing has revolutionized the way many societies function.  In virtually every facet of society, computers have changed the way everyday activities are conducted.  Their use in the classroom and at home have fundamentally transformed the academic process and the way in which families perform otherwise mundane tasks, and the way in which they interact.  Computers in the broader world have contributed tremendously to the design and construction of safer automobiles, the development of better surgical procedures, the astronomically quicker performance of scientific and mathematical calculations, and the access to information available on the Internet.  No country with ambitions of being economically competitive in the years ahead can afford to fall behind in the area of information technologies.  China and India, with populations in excess of one billion each, will require every means available to manage and provide for the needs of the hundreds of millions in each country that are certain to lag behind in socioeconomic development.  Both countries realize this, and produce computer scientists at high rates, although many Indian technicians choose to work in the United States, where a shortage of highly-skilled information technology specialists has proven costly in terms of economic competitiveness. 

As countries evolve economically, their reliance on computer technologies grows exponentially.  Manufacturing, the foundation of economic development, is increasingly driven by advances in technologies that minimize human involvement, a worrisome trend for countries like India and China with massive surpluses of labor that must develop technologically and economically if social stability is to be assured as population continues to grow.  How these two countries handle these challenges will impact the entire world given the percentage of the world’s population concentrated in India and China.  Again, the advent of computers presents both advantages and disadvantages in this regard. 

The advantages of computers are many.  More compelling, however, is the fact that incorporation of advanced information technologies into society is not a luxury, it is a requirement of economic development.  India’s high-technology sector is large and growing.  The Indian Space Research Organization and the Indian Institute of Science are prominent contributors in their respective fields on a global basis.  As noted above, India is producing large quantities of computer technology specialists.  The key for that country, though, will be in how it incorporates those advances for the betterment of its broader society.

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