I graduated the Altair was in production and the 8080 had 78 instructions for $130.00. That is starkly unbelievable! Except that it happened and it's still happening. l entered college from one culture and graduated into another.one. I'll have my master's degree in one year and what will it be like then? Star Trek on every TV in the nation, probably. Is that the idea? [image] The idea is for some people to make a lot of money and expand their industry and keep the GNP growing. That is the gut force behind the computer explosion, that and the fact that the computer is the advertiser's dream come true. "Here is our universal do-all. Take a close look at it, We guarantee that you can think of something to use it for! If you can't, well, sorry, it looks like your business is obsolete." The self-expanding product; the product which grabs you by the throat and says, "Thou shalt do it my way, or your investment is worthless. And by the way, I'd do it a lot better with another 32K." [image] To return to my main point, I guess what really bothers me is that we are beginning to base so much of our everyday world on technologies which are not intuitively understandable. We no longer feel that it is necessary to understand our tools. I believe that if we do not understand our tools, then we do not control our tools, our tools control us. The people who do understand our tools control us. If I am the end user of a computer statistical package, but I am not a programmer, then if someone changes the package I must change. If I am a programmer, but don't understand hardware, then if someone changes the machine I program for, I must change. Even if I understand all facets of the computer I use, from software to hardware, I am still in trouble, for if someone changes the design of an integrated circuit device such as a microprocessor or a memory chip, there's not a damn thing I can do about it except change to suit Them. All users of advanced technologies are subservient to the elite who understand and control those technologies, Even the elite represented by PCC and Creative are not very elite. How do People's Consumer Company and Creative Consuming grab you? (Down, Dragon!, Down!) I'm not too taken with those names, but even though I am fairly knowledgeable about computers I realize that I am basically helpless. I am still only a user of someone else's technology. If things continue on in the same way they are going right now, I am not sure that I see the situation getting any better. [image] Aha! The way is clear for the usual Basic Question: Must 'Things Go On This Way? No, I'm not denouncing computers or technology or capitalism or anything else. Perhaps there was only one way to reach this point in history, it makes little difference, we are here. The distributed-computer society is upon us. We know that computers are, if nothing else, great toys and we have hopes that they can be much more. But must computers remain black boxes? Must computer technology, itself, remain of no educational value? Must control of the use of computers for social change remain, ultimately, with others than those who are trying to bring about change? Must the public forever fall farther and farther behind in understanding the devices with which it is manipulated? Okay, I am but an egg, and all that, and I don't have many answers, so I'm asking: Can we have an understandable computer technology? Is the way we are doing things now the only way to do them? Can we transform computers into tools which most people can understand and use? Can we have computers for people? Can we use computers to bring about useful social change? Can we reconcile personal computers in this country with the fact that much of the world population will starve to death by the end of this century of technological progress? Are we really doing something useful in terms of the future of this planet, or are we really just playing games? Those are some pretty brutal questions, and to some degree I have been playing the devi1's advocate, but I really want to find some answers. So now that I've raised the points, and I'll admit that some of the things I've said could use some expansion and clarification, let's have some discussion.