chapter  13
Information-Processing Machines
ByCarl J. Couch, Shing-Ling S. Chen
Pages 24

Computers were originally designed to process quantitative information, but have evolved into machines that also store information, process text and graphics, and receive and transmit information. Modern electronic information-processing machines have about the same relationship to the early computers as phonetic writing has to ice age depictions. The relationship between state structures and computer development continues to be highly varied as state authorities, universities, research institutes, and computer specialists debate and negotiate their relationships with one another. Computers first acquired recognition as a significant information technology by becoming an integral dimension of large organizations. In computerized bureaucracies, lower-echelon clerks "spend the better part of each day with attention fixed on luminous electronic numbers and letters". Clerks hired after a bureaucracy is computerized do not experience that disquiet; they take the established social structure for granted. Computer-mediated communication has become a fundamental aspect of computer networking. The development of computers has also transformed the production of food, fiber, and manufactured objects.