Computers have revolutionised the way the entire human race functions. It has become an indispensable part of personal, professional, and social life in a number of regions around the world. After the first modern computers were developed between 1940 and 1945, there has been a consistent improvement in the quality of both hardware and software components that go into the making. With faster micro processors and sleeker outside appearances, the world of computers continues to grow as we speak. Though they have undoubtedly changed global lifestyles in a highly positive manner, it is only fair to look at both ends of what appears to be a completely one-sided argument. Here we examine some of the disadvantages of computers, but we tread cautiously since it has come down to nitpicking while formulating the few points presented ahead.
The term ‘computer’ represents "A device that computes, especially a programmable [usually] electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information." However, here we will restrict the discussion to personal computers which are used by end users and could be a desktop, laptop or tablet. Over the years, these personal computers have become much more simplified and user-friendly with a wide range of easily accessible softwares that can be directly installed by the user. Though the disadvantages of computers are few and far in between, we attempt to unearth a few of the major ones in the following paragraphs.
Heavy Reliance on Computers for almost everything we do
Computers have created great ease in functions such as storing, processing and extracting data, be it in the professional or personal spheres. More and more businesses are being computerised every day. Their influence is felt in personal spaces as well with about 61.8 per cent houses in USA reported to owning computers in 2003. These figures have undoubtedly increased over the past few years, as has been indicated by the latest survey results which report that as of 2009, 73.5 per cent of the population in USA have internet access within their households. Though it is obvious that these figures will vary over different geographical regions depending on factors such as level of technological prowess and general development of the country, there has been a clear upward trend in computer usage in all spheres of life.
This brings us to the point that humans are relying increasingly more on computers to perform certain daily functions for them. Especially in case of professional businesses which tend to store all varieties of regular and sensitive files on computers, there is an increased dependency on the latter for storage and efficient extraction of data as and when required. Thus events such as crashing of the system or a deadly virus attack turn into crisis situations for the firm. All businesses and even governments use computers for administrative purposes and store data as soft copies on large databases which then causes them to run the risk of losing sensitive information in case of any kind of system failure. Any temporary setback to computer systems stalls some businesses completely. An example of this would be banking or customer services which require continuous access to computerised information in order to maintain reliable services.
Thus it figures that such heavy reliance on computers can pose as one of the major disadvantages of computers. The number of movies made on the subject of an economy getting crippled due to a complete wipeout of the computer systems across the country, bear evidence to the fact that computers have become indispensable. It follows that this has lead to an unhealthy level of dependence on them.
Invasion of Privacy
Increasing computerisation also leads to higher chances of crimes such as hacking and theft of sensitive information which is made simple due to the vast criss-cross of computer networks globally. When in earlier times, any corporate espionage or theft of information would have required the physical presence of the concerned party, it can now be done from across the continent at the click of a mouse. Since large organisations such as banks and even government organisations store sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, personal addresses, credit card information, account numbers and the like, a breach into these internal systems would result in great damage to the organisation as well as its clients. A case in point is Citibank which became a victim to cyber criminals in 2011 with around 210,000 accounts being compromised in the process. The hackers obtained information such as names of customers, account numbers and contact information. Despite the threat not being too large at the time, the event turned into a public relations nightmare for the bank, with it being severely criticised for not informing its customers about the information breach when it happened.
It cannot be stressed enough that security systems and protocol needs to be followed stringently in this regard. Cyber criminal activity is rising at an alarming rate and hence needs to be kept in check. This constitutes another one of the significant disadvantages of computers.
Computer usage provides a plethora of activities for an individual to indulge in. Be it surfing the net aimlessly or being engrossed in social networking or playing games, computers lead to innumerable sources of distractions for people at work, school or even home. These negative effects of computer usage are quite commonplace. The heightened degree of computer usage in this day and age has further aggravated this problem. Businesses have to resort to web browsing restrictions in order to curtail excessive wastage of office resources, time and money. The additional costs that have to borne by the firm need to be taken into account while gauging the overall benefits of computerisation. It is fair to say that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of computers, being aware of some of the sources of the latter may prove useful to users.
In the end. ..
Life without computers is inconceivable. The extent to which this piece of electronic machinery has been absorbed into today’s lifestyle is intriguing. The developments being charted in the field of computers have led to entire industries being raised on the basis of this invention. Though we have listed out the disadvantages of computers, the other side of the argument is way more compelling and too vast to cover within a few paragraphs. Computers have transformed our lives and are churning out more advancements by the minute. And they don’t seem to be stopping just yet.