05.02.2006 11:00 - A Concise History of the last 60 years of Computing.
Computers are as stupid as they ever were, it's just that they are able to be just as stupid a lot faster now.
In the last 60 years, computers have became smaller and cheaper. They're so cheap that a modern desktop computer actually consists of a number of computers tied together : the graphics and sound on a modern computer are essentially a separate computer. Recently, it's become so cheap to build a computer that you can reasonably expect to buy several computers on one chip. This allows them to be stupid in parallel. Unfortunately for the computers, human beings, who program the computers, find it hard to partition problems into asynchronous sections, and so most parallel computers have to wait for their owners, because their owners are still capable of being far more stupid than the computers themselves.
Many advances in computing are due to the increasing cheapness of computers. For example, modern neural-networking has its basis in the perceptron machines of the 1950s. Neural networking is a method of simulating what is going on in a human's brain in crucial applications such as decision-making, speech-recognition or vision. In theory, artificial neural networks should eventually perform just as well as their human masters, but it hasn't happened yet, because computers are getting faster and faster, humans develop more and more complex operating systems which slow the computers down to a manageable speed. You would think that neural networks would operate on certain jobs better than humans, because the neural network doesn't have all the other multitasking software installed that the average human has, such as the "I'm Bored" Pre-empt, the "I need to go to the toilet" interrupt, or, even worse, the "Cor, look at the tits on that" buss override, which passes control from the main processor down to a pair of far smaller processors which only respond to the most basic interrupts. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Most modern advances in computing are to do with networking : the connecting together of computers so that they can be used to communicate. For example, the internet : a giant, worldwide network of computers that allows the almost instantaneous transmission of pornography to anywhere on the planet. The internet was originally created as a project for tying together computers owned by the United States Military - soldiers get very upset if they experience disruptions in their supply of gynaecologically-explicit reading-material. From there, the internet was extended via Universities, who found that connecting their computers to the net meant that students in all-male dormitories were more pliable and less likely to get into trouble trying to sneak into the girl's dorms. With the arrival of the world-wide web, almost anyone could easily access the most shocking material, and with broadband, you can even download movies of them doing it.
It is amazing, then, that most computers are still supplied without waterproof wipe-clean keyboards.
Of course, one of the big problems with computers is that they are useless without software. Software development requires geeks, and to keep the geeks going, you require porn, because software development is a thankless task, especially when the girls in sales won't even give you a second glance. One of the biggest problems with software development is that the developers never get invited to the parties at the end of Sales Exhibitions. We know what goes on there, though. We know because we know the geek who runs the security cameras in the hotel. Where do you think we get all the porn for the internet sites in the first place?
So there you are. The state of modern computing in a nutshell. Chris Evans must be spinning in his grave.