The Evolution of Humans and Technology Part 3: Computers

  • John N. A. Brown
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Having examined the evolution of humans and tools in general, in this chapter we will look at the “evolution” of the computer. The reader is asked to remember that, while human evolution has happened on a scale of tens of millions of years, and tool evolution has happened on a timeline that is only one tenth as long, modern computers have only existed for a few decades. To put it simply, they have not had enough time to evolve to suit us and we have not had enough time to evolve to suit them.

This means that we are still in the earliest stages of co-adaption with this new tool. To use a tool-based analogy, we have not yet figured out how to put a handle on this hand axe. Because of that, we are still cutting our fingers and working inefficiently. By looking at computers in this evolutionary context, we not only recognize that they are still in a very primitive state, we also open the door to the possibility of consciously and deliberately advancing them quickly through evolutionary stages that would otherwise require many human generations.

Who knows, maybe – as it was with the hand axe – adding a handle for safety will also increase performance and range of use?

Let’s start by looking at the first person who seriously proposed that having computers would shape the way humans think. After all, his proposal ended up shaping the way we interact with almost all of our computers, tablets, and smartphones today.


Ubiquitous Computing Smart Home Hammer Head Smart Home Technology Endless Frontier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John N. A. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Informatics SystemsAlpen-Adria Universität KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria

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