It is no longer cool to be a technology-nimwit. Not that many years ago, it was common for successful and powerful people to openly admit that they didn’t even know how to turn on a computer. It was almost a badge of honor among a certain demographic that they didn’t know the first thing about computers. That time is long past.
Today, you can’t avoid using a computer even if you wanted to. They’re everywhere, and embedded in nearly everything useful on a day to day basis. If you set out to avoid all computers and live silicon-free for a year, you simply couldn’t do it, at least not in the Western world. You would just about have to confine your year to a place that didn’t have electricity. The simple fact is, if it draws electricity, it probably has a computer inside.
We have come a long ways since the days when computers were generic, beige boxes that hid under desks. Here are a few places computers are showing up that you probably never thought they would go:
On the Battlefield
Whether in tanks or foxholes, soldiers are armed with more than bullets and bayonets. They are armed to the teeth with the latest, highest tech available. This type of industrial PC is more than just powerful silicon slapped inside a consumer-friendly shell, general consumer machines wouldn’t last a day dressed in army camouflage.
On the battlefield, computers come in all shapes and sizes. They run on ruggedized logic boards and have displays that can stand up to harsh environments. Speaking of harsh environments, they have to be especially sealed against dust and rain. In a foxhole where soldiers are sending precise targeting information, computers have to be able to complete the job despite a few drops of rain, and incoming, enemy fire.
On Your Wrist
If not your next wrist watch, there is a good chance that the one after that will be a fully functioning computer. We have come a long ways since horological readings were observed via the sundial. The latest computerized wrist watches, otherwise know as smart watches, have the same kind of computing power as smartphones from just a few years ago. In turn, they had more computing power than those that placed the first human on the moon. That is an awful lot of power strapped to your wrist, ostensibly, to tell you the time.
But of course, smart watches are about so much more than time-keeping, in the same way that smartphones are about much more than making and receiving phone calls. The recently announced Apple Watch can perform many of the functions of the latest iPhone: the best selling phone in the world. It can even be used to make mobile payments. But there are already other smart watches on the market that can do some pretty amazing things.
In Your Things
Perhaps you have heard of the Internet of things (IoT) without being fully aware of what it is. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Generically, “things” refers to anything with an IP address that can connect to the Internet. That can be just about anything, and is.
There are Internet connected, computerized refrigerators and grill accessories. Computerized, IoT boxes control special light bulbs. The lock on your door might have a small computer in it that can communicate with your smartphone. Every night, many people sleep on beds laden with computerized functionality. Your favorite recliner with those buttons that adjust everything from temperature to massage levels? Computers.
If you are a computer-phobe, there is no place to hide. The phone you use to have your internet disconnected is, itself, a highly connected computer. Soon, they will be in our bodies, controlling our cybernetic implants. Don’t hide from it. Embrace it. After all, it is not like we are putting computers into self-aware robots that will enslave all human race, and take over the world.