Turner’s discussion of the evolution of the personal computer in Taking the Whole World Digital prompts the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was the technological change from governmental and educational based uses of computers to more personalized computers fueled by a change in social needs with regards to the distribution and method of attaining information? Or, conversely, were these changes in perceptions of authority and their role in information distribution prompted by the technological changes that allowed for a counterculture to arise and give way to the personal computer?
After the second of two waves in the development of the personal computer brought about “mass distributions of minicomputers into homes and offices nationwide,” minicomputers became “so ubiquitous and their effects on daily life so pronounced that Time magazine named the computer its ‘Machine of the Year’” in 1983 (pg. 129). Personal computers changed the way we consume information and altered our perceptions of authority figures and the information they provide. Additionally, computers have facilitated information distribution and acquisition in such a way that it is now a much more fast-paced information culture.
Computers have become so commonplace that we now use technology to inform the public about new technologies whereas previously it was technological innovators and leaders who communicated revolutions. Much like this change, new media technologies have brought about changes in many various aspects of social order as well as politics. However, there is one thing that has remained the same throughout the advancement of technology and more specifically the computer, which is that they were created to enrich human knowledge and they continue to do so today.