Why should a person buy a computer?

An excellent interview with Steve Jobs by Playboy.
“Why should a person buy a computer?” the interviewer asks.

Remember, it is 1985. Computer is not as common and not as advanced as today. Normal human reaction toward changes is to resist, hence we fall back to what we know best, what we have been doing all along.

Whenever a new technology shows up, we quickly proclaim, “Who would want that? Who would buy that?”
“I can balance my checkbook faster by hand than on my computer. Why should a person buy a computer?”
We often overlook two things. Technology will improve and human will adapt, eventually they meet halfway. What perceived as totally unnecessary can become a necessity. Before the creation of mobile phone, we have no problem tolerate with waiting for someone on a street without the mean to check if that person is stuck in a traffic jam or just around the corner. Heck, we don’t even feel the need to tolerate; we simply don’t know there are other ways around.
Now, in hindsight, it felt comical that Steve Jobs have to convince the interviewer why someone needs a computer; some of the arguments are eerily prophetic though.

“So far, that’s more of a conceptual market than a real market. The primary reasons to buy a computer for your home now are that you want to do some business work at home or you want to run educational software for yourself or your children. If you can’t justify buying a computer for one of those two reasons, the only other possible reason is that you just want to be computer literate. You know there’s something going on, you don’t exactly know what it is, so you want to learn. This will change: Computers will be essential in most homes.”

“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people—as remarkable as the telephone.”

“A hundred years ago, if somebody had asked Alexander Graham Bell, “What are you going to be able to do with a telephone?” he wouldn’t have been able to tell him the ways the telephone would affect the world. He didn’t know that people would use the telephone to call up and find out what movies were playing that night or to order some groceries or call a relative on the other side of the globe. ”

I really like the invention of telephone as an example. Sometime even the inventor wouldn’t be able to tell us how his invention will change the world, how people will use it eventually, but just a sense that something very big is going to happen with it.

“I can balance my checkbook faster by hand than on my computer. Why should a person buy a computer?” You can replace “balance checkbook” and “computer”, and you get all the hysterical reaction towards any new tech/gadget/tools nowadays. We are too eager judging something new with our mind that already been clouded by the current state of how we do thing, and we forgot to just allow the new technology to ferment, to evolved, to let everyone get over the inertia and embrace it.

By kahfei

A system admin by day while secretly trying to transform myself to a coding designer or a designing coder at night.

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