The Legacy of the Machine Age

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The current generation of man has a legacy of a mental make-up which has been shaped and groomed in the machine age and which is unable to adjust itself in an age of computers.

It took generations for man to come to terms with the changes brought about by the industrial revolution. Man went through the turmoil of that revolution and emerged victorious. As years passed by, machines and mechanical thinking started seeping into his mindset. Slowly, he had mastered the change, and knew how to live with machines. A new era dawned over mankind creating a new industrial culture.

As man was evolving into the industrial psychology, machines too were evolving. Initially there were mechanical machines. Then came the electrical ones and then electronic. Thereafter came computers. As the industrial culture was deeply ingrained into his mental makeup by then, man thought that computer was just another machine. Armed with his centuries’ old knowledge and the experience of dealing with the change brought about by machines, he adopted the same old approach to deal with the introduction of computers. He thought it was just another electronic machine.

What he did not realize was that it was not merely the introduction of one more new machine, but a dawn of a new era altogether, a change from the industrial era to the information era. Little did he realize that just as the industrial era required a new thinking, new approach and a new culture, the ‘Information era’ too requires adopting new methods and new ideas to tackle the onslaught of computers. His concepts of machines, which were shaped and developed in the machine age, failed miserably when applied to computers. He did not realize that the computer was not just another industrial age machine but an information age device. This failure on his part has caused some key misconceptions, which is the primary cause of the turbulence of the Information revolution which I talked about in my post earlier.

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