i was reading a great blog post regarding apple/ipads/iphones and the oversimplification of computing. the article talks about the importance, or potentially lack thereof, of knowing how a computer works. it seems that we are getting further and further away from knowing how computers work. most of us don’t know how the part in the computer work, but many can name the basic parts. as operating systems, files and folders begin to go the way of the dinosaur it has become increasingly difficult for even the most savvy of computer folks to comprehend what exactly is going on ‘under the hood’. the car analogy seems to be one that lots of people like to latch on to, appropriately so. there was a time where you could look under the hood of your car and identify the parts that were making the car go. today a car seems more like an advanced computing system. lots of people who responded to the blog post mentioned that you don’t need to know how a car works in order to drive it, and similarly you don’t need to know how a computer works to use it…right? not so fast. (here is where i stop summarizing!)
the car analogy runs out of gas (sorry) at this point…at least i think so. adding gas = plugging your computer in. keeping fluid levels topped off = ? that is about the list for me. i can’t service my own car. similarly, i can’t take apart my computer and fix what might be wrong there should a piece break down. should i be able to? i think that there is a limit to what most people should be able to fix in their cars. i think car companies like those limits.
back to the title of this post – is it wrong that computers are increasingly becoming systems that which people can’t understand? essentially, computers are becoming more and more like cars. the less you understand, the less you can fix on your own = the more helpless you become.