Computers also have brought a lot in the area of entertainment. For example, many people now watch movies online. This is much easier to do. It has also revolutionized the music industry. For example, through itunes, you are able to download only the songs you want. Then there are all the online games that are gaining traction.
The computer has made employment much more flexible. My second job is teaching online. I applied online, interviewed over the phone, trained online, and teach online. I have talked to people at my company over the phone, but I have never actually seen any of them face to face. I can work from home, or I can work from anywhere.
I'd echo the ideas in the third post and point to changes brought about by the use of computers in manufacturing and distribution.
Computers can help quickly and consistently build/fabricate products that would have been either time-intensive or impossible a century ago. Stream-lining the production process also includes new abilities to track inventory and initiate shipping from warehouses.
I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned the purported role of computer technology in the Arab Spring...but maybe this is implied by the comments on information exchange and access to information.
To this point everything has been positive, but I also wanted to chime in on one negative. Our society has become reliant on computer technology and it has made our society susceptible to enormous problems if it were to be taken away. Whether it by from some EMP weapon or solar flares, any disruption in our technology would wreak havoc on our society. Automobiles wouldn't work to do the computer components and even if they did, you couldn't refuel since our gas pumps are electronic. Seemingly every facet of our society today is tied to computer technology, and most people lack the ability to function without it.
The computer, or more accurately the Internet, has made it possible not just to work from home, but also to get an education from home. Online educations, ranging from GEDs to PhDs are an enormous business these days. The personal computer and the Internet have also revolutionized entertainment, making films, music and books available to a much larger audience than before. I do agree with the previous poster, though, that not all of these changes are positive, and that we have yet to adjust to the world that we are creating.
Not all changes brought about by the computer have been positive. At least in the teaching profession, we are now expected to work more from home than we did before the advent of the computer, simply because we can.
Cyber-crime is a serious problem, especially with regard to identity theft.
It's true that information is more accessible than ever before, but much of that information is unreliable or incendiary.
And, while many people can use computers, few understand how they really work. We are more and more becoming citizens in a world that we do not understand the workings of. I wonder what percentage of people really know what to do when their computer malfunctions.
In my case, I am able to earn money on-line (eNotes, eBay, craigslist) without even leaving my house. Research is at the tip of my hand instead of travelling to a library for the info; I can keep up with old friends on social networks (Facebook); and I can watch movies and videos from my laptop.
I think the first post is right about the impact of computers that we actually perceive. But computers have changed our lives even more in ways we don't usually think about. For example, cars are much more efficient and much safer than they used to be. This is in large part due to computers and the ability that engineers have to use computers to design cars. The same goes in so many areas of goods. Computers are used in so many ways to make things more cheaply and to make them better.
I think the biggest change computers have brought about is the transfer of information. I can pay my bills on-line, check my bank statements, catch up with old friends, check a movie time, make reservations for a trip, find a good dentist, find up to date world information, and research anything on my mind. None of that was possible before the computer.