People have been wondering about the impact of computers for a long time. In terms of previous technological revolutions it initially seemed the computer might be like a power-plant or some kind of factory machine: centrally located, staffed by professionals to do certain heavy-duty work. With the personal computer it began to appear the computer was going to be more like Television or Radio, something that everybody had one of in their house. But it really turns out computers are more like electricity, they are getting into everything…literally disappearing into infrastructure such that we depend on them, but don’t think about it.
I first realized this when I started thinking about Anti-Lock Brakes on cars. I think many of the computer pioneers were geniuses, who foresaw something of this, but very few people in the 1950s would have imagined we could minituarize something far more powerful than ENIAC and put it into the brakes of a car, or the ignition, or your phone, or your camera, or your stereo, or ….