These days hearing a person say I'm just not computer literate will earn them a funny look from just about everyone. Computers have evolved from the archaic scientific calculators that took up most of a room to a simple point-and-click machine that fits on most desks. One theory is that most of today's computer illiterates have not taken the time to experiment with a computer and if given half a chance (or 20 minutes whichever comes first) the most adamant technological caveman will become a junkie wreaking havoc in chatrooms all over the internet.
The skills needed to use a computer today are: manipulating a mouse, punching a few buttons on a keyboard, and knowing how to turn the thing on. Simple right? So let's have some fun and see just how little knowledge these thousand dollar machines actually require.
Let's start with the mouse. Can someone who has never seen a computer before operate it without knowing how to use a mouse? Only if the computer is set up to operate on voice command. Voice command software allows a user to tell the computer exactly what to do and the computer does it. Although this software is fairly new and still under development, voice directed technology has already infiltrates consumer service related systems.
What is a consumer Service related system and how do I know if I have used one? Think back to the last time you tried to pay a bill over the phone. Instead of speaking to a human being, chances are you spoke to a computer that only responded to what you said and offered you options such as press 1 for English. It may have also asked you for additional information such as your full name or credit card number, in which case you have just operated a computer without even realizing it!
Next let's take a look at the keyboard. Can someone who has never seen a computer before operate it without knowing how to use a keyboard? Only if the computer is set up to operate on a touch command. Touch command software allows a user to literally touch the objects on the screen to tell the computer what to do. These types of touch screens are known as kiosks and are already in use worldwide in such places as ATM machines, employment centers and in many health monitoring systems.
For this type of system neither a mouse nor a keyboard is required; a user need only touch the various boxes on the screen to control the computer. The programming behind this technology is extensive and advanced, but for the user the computer becomes less intimidating and just plain easy to use.
Of course when operating a computer there is usually more involvement than just speaking on the phone or touching a screen. The illustrations above are just a couple of examples of the growth of computer technology and how far user friendliness has been pushed. Eventually the keyboard and mouse will have to play a role when a computer newbie has to work with a cash register, a hotel booking program, or a library's catalog system but that doesn't make the computer any easier to operate, but it doesn't make them harder to operate either.
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