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The Microprocessor's Impact on Society
December 1996 (vol. 16 no. 6)
pp. 54-59
Today, we literally swim in a sea of silicon. There are dozens of chips in every car and dozens in every office. Microprocessors in the form of watches, pagers, cellular phones, and Sharp Wizard's adorn our bodies as jewelry. Beyond embedded systems, the rapid rise of the Internet now appears to be on the verge of ensuring that the personal computer truly becomes ubiquitous. Where in the past PCs have been concentrated in the workplace and scattered in the homes of the wealthier third of American society, the Internet is almost certain to lower the final obstacles and make it possible to create a new class of information appliances that will extend the reach of the Net until it matches that of television or the telephone. Microprocessors are everywhere, but how is modern life different? In many areas the advent of microelectronics obviously does have clear benefits. That can be seen in the effect of computing technology on the disabled; the transformation of certain kinds of boring and dangerous manual labor; advances in medical technology and weather forecasting. Indeed the easy answer is that microprocessors have transformed modern society. They affect the way we work and play, the way we travel and communicate. They offer remarkable processing power at infinitesimal cost.
Index Terms:
Microprocessors, semiconductors, microprocessor industry
Citation:
John Markoff, "The Microprocessor's Impact on Society," IEEE Micro, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 54-59, Dec. 1996, doi:10.1109/40.546565
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