Computer Applications Today
According to Human Development Report (2001) a nation that would not use IT and computer networks, shall lag behind those nations that use them extensively. India is a major user of IT and computer networks. Our programmers are the best amongst those of the world. Thus. on the IT front, our future is bright. Speed and efficiency as modern man’s quest have led to the application of computers in almost every walk of life. The computers are electronic extensions of a human brain. Without taxing his mind over intricate calculations. man can now avail of a great spectrum of benefits. While computers are busy in the task of processing data and figures he is free to plan further for achieving greater heights in science, technology and business. Computer applications today range from designing cars, trains and airships to medical diagnosis of patients. Fifth generation computers are the most modern gadgets available to man today. They are very well versed with applications like E-mail, E-com, Internet Surfing, multimedia, voice mail, business applications, CAD. CAM and entertainment.
The most common field in which, computers are helpful to very large sections of the population is of the public services. If we go to a computerized railway reservation counter, we would immediatly notice the difference in service given to us as compared to the one ten years ago. We can get the reservation status for a particular train in seconds. The screen gives the particulars of arrival and departure and the list of fares. Since these computers are inter-linked by satellite channels, we can have reservations from any place rather than from our own city. We can also book the return journey reservation on the spot. There is no need to wait for the confirmation from a distant station. There is a little chance of resevations being manipulated by bribe-seeking clerks.
The mind-boggling capacities of computers have brought a harvest of good results for tackling law and order situation in many countries. For instance, in some advanced .nations, the detailed particulars of each citizen of a town are recorded in a computer which is linked to the national network through a satellite. Any police station can retrieve information by the touch of a button and can verify the statistics regarding a suspect in a criminal case. In fact, the computer comes in handy in any of information factory or office where large amounts of information have to be documented and processed. The 2001 census of India was made and finalized on computers.
The data about population in different district towns of India were fed into computers installed locally. These were then collected on a central network. The census officials were thus able to arrive at the genderwise ratio and categories of professions and educational qualifications for a vast population of over 100 crore.
The computers have applications in all the fields of science today where large amounts of information have to be processed and complex machines have to be designed. Whether one is designing the engine of a car or a plane. streamlining a racing car, designing the interiors of a building. the computer has no match for precision, speed and accuracy. An object can be viewed in three-Dimensional depths and its dimensions can be changed to suit any number of applications. In fact, the finally approved design has to be fed into another computer and the command button has to be pressed and the assembly line would be in operation—making, welding and screwing different parts together. Complete ships have been constructed in this way in Scandinavia.
Computers have useful applications in the medical profession as well. A computer called ‘Doctor’ in the USA was used to diagnose patients in totality. Once all the details about a patient’s blood pressure, temperature, blood group and the various symptoms were fed into ‘Doctor’, it arrived at the diagnosis of disease. Very intricate operations of the eye and brain are possible, thanks to computers which allow the laser beam to work accurately. Computers are being used in heart surgeries, Computer Aided Tomography (CAT). study of the diseases of stomach, intestines and for all the diseases faced by, the human race.
Another area software development for industry, business, trade and leisure. Programming in C+ +, Visual Basic 6.0 Java, ASP and other languages is very popular. Indian software programmer all .considered the best in the world. India is earning a lot of foreign exchange through onshore and off-shore software development. Main areas include CAD. CAM, CIM, Software for games and educational packages.
Robots are nothing but computerized machines like humans with limbs. These are equipped with remote sensing devices and can react to their surroundings. Robots are used wherever hazardous or repetitive work is involved as is the case in assembly lines, in blast furnaces and in the vicinity of nuclear power stations. Robots are also being used as helping hands in libraries and other buildings. In advanced nations, they are even used as waiters in hotels and baby-sitters at homes!
Computers have invaded the aesthetic domain in which feelings were treated as the monopoly of humans. Music is composed on computers and modern art is developed on them. One can only imagine about the futuristic uses the computer will be put to. Many companies in the USA allow their employees to work at home on computers while keeping in touch with their main offices. This saves the costs of transport and time as well. Can we envisage distant schools and colleges where learners study at home with personal computers? What a saving in terms of infrastructural facilities!
Automation of work-places like banks through computerisation poses difficulties in developing countries like India where unemployment is already a serious problem. Perhaps it has to be introduced wisely in phases. Whatever the ecomomic situation, however, the day is not far when personal computers would guide us through all jobs. They would become as common as the pocket calculator. But beware the tyranny of automation. One must not succumb to laziness and lose one’s powers of decision by resigning oneself completely to those prodigious silicon chips.