Like it or not, we live in an increasingly digital world. Many of my generation can still remember, with some nostalgia, winding up the clockwork mechanism of a post-war radiogram housed in its polished mahogany case, then inserting a fresh needle into the pick-up arm, before placing Eddie Calvert’s 78 rpm Bakelite rendering of Oh Mein Papa carefully on the turntable.
Who among us then, as we listened to the crackly strains of Eddie’s golden trumpet, could have imagined today’s roller-blading teenager listening through micro-earphones to Oasis on a CD Walkman clipped to the waistband of their Levi’s, while en route to a cyber cafe for a session surfing the Internet! From the arrival in the shops of the first clunky digital calculators, the pace at which digital technology has permeated every corner of our society has been astonishing.
Hard on the heels of the calculator came the digital watch and then something which had a keyboard, like a typewriter, could plug into a TV set and came complete with plug-in cartridges featuring games like Paddle Ball an Bricking the Wall.
From what small acorns do mighty oak trees grow! It is probably not putting it too strongly to say that what seemed then like little more than a novelty gadget signaled the beginning of a new phase in mankind’s evolution – an Information Revolution which would be as far reaching in its social and economic consequences as the Industrial Revolution before it.
From industry to the financial markets, from education to the media, from health care to military defense and space travel – the list of areas being fundament he power of today’s desktop computer is already awe tally altered is endless. . Some by comparison with the earliest IBM and Apple.