Free download of : Introduction to Computing – Explorations in Language, Logic, and Machines by David Evans
The first million years of hominid history produced tools to amplify, and later mechanize, our physical abilities to enable us to move faster, reach higher, and hit harder. We have developed tools that amplify physical force by the trillions and increase the speeds at which we can travel by the thousands.
Tools that amplify intellectual abilities are much rarer. While some animals have developed tools to amplify their physical abilities, only humans have developed tools to substantially amplify our intellectual abilities and it is those advances that have enabled humans to dominate the planet. The first key intellect amplifier was language. Language provided the ability to transmit our thoughts to others, as well as to use our own minds more effectively. The next key intellect amplifier was writing, which enabled the storage and transmission of thoughts over time and distance.
Computing is the ultimate mental amplifier—computers can mechanize any intellectual activity we can imagine. Automatic computing radically changes how humans solve problems, and even the kinds of problems we can imagine solving. Computing has changed the world more than any other invention of the past hundred years, and has come to pervade nearly all human endeavors. Yet, we are just at the beginning of the computing revolution; today’s computing offers just a glimpse of the potential impact of computing ……..