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When the first electronic computers emerged from university and military laboratories in the late 1940s and early 1950s visionaries proclaimed them the harbingers of a second industrial revolution that would transform business government and industry But few laymen even if they were aware of the machines could see the connection Experts too were sceptical Not only were computers huge expensive one-of-a-kind devices designed for performing abstruse scientific and military calculations such as cracking codes and calculations missile trajectories they were also extremely difficult to handle Now it is clear that computers are not only here to stay but they have a profound effect on society as well As John McCarthy Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University speculated in 1966 The computer gives signs of becoming the contemporary counterpart of the steam engine that brought on the industrial revolution - one that is still gathering momentum and whose true nature had yet to be seen Todays applications of computers are vast They are used to run ordinary household appliances such as televisions and microwaves to being tools in the workplaces through word processing spreadsheets and graphics software to running monumental tasks such as being the heart and soul of the nations tax processing department and managing the project timetables of the Space Shuttle It is obvious that the computer is now and always will be inexorably linked to our lives and we have no choice but to accept this technology and learn how to harness its total potential With any progressing technology an unauthorized application can almost be found for it A computer could and has been used for theft and fraud - for example as a database and manager of illegal activities such as drug trafficking and pornography However we must not just consider the harmful applications of the computer but also take into account the good that they have caused When society embraced the computer technology we have to
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