Reappraisal of Computers

Archive Report

Complaints and Fears About Computers

The electronic computer, the president of Burroughs Corp. asserted several years ago, “has a more beneficial potential for the human race than any other invention in history.”1 At the time, few knowledgeable persons would have quarrelled with that appraisal. Computers, it was confidently predicted in the early 1960s, would make business more creative and efficient and thus help to raise per-capita income. In addition, the machines would eliminate drudgery and increase leisure time. The almost universal view of the computer was that of a benevolent servant of man.

Today, many former enthusiasts are having second thoughts. Businessmen have found that computers, though indispensable in many ways, lack the intuition needed to arrive at sound executive decisions. They have found also that ...

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