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Phase 1 : Birth in the 1940s

Several centuries after Pascal's calculating machine, towards the end of the Second World War, the first relay calculator was invented as part of an experiment at Harvard by International Business Machines. The ancestor of the computer followed : the first electronic calculator, the ENIAC in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania (18,000 lamps, 200,000 km of wires). The invention of transistors allowed the miniaturisation of the machines, and there were already dreams of future uses for them, although strictly reserved for scientists.

Phase 2 : First applications for the general public (1960s)

It wasn't until fifteen years later that the calculation centres were equipped with computers, and a few big businesses started to use them in a professional context and the first video game was invented (by Willy Higginbotham in 1958). The first networks of computers were tested, first on a local level, then towards the end of the 1960s ARPAnet, a military network, was created, which later turned into Internet. While the network was expanding, the first personal computer was invented by André Thi Truong. The computer industry took off, with success stories like Apple, Atari, Commodore and Apple, which developed alongside older companies like IBM. Homes began to be equipped, and the arts reflected the emergence of the cyber-culture and its associated anxieties (2001, A Space Odyssey, with Hal 9000, the crazy computer).

Phase 3 : Appropriation by the next generation (1980-90)

The computer became an object of mss consumption which is found at all levels of society, and professional use develops : word processing, spread sheets, accountancy, simulation, production, expert systems, network communication, whilst private use multiplies : leisure, communication, creation, personal expression, education. The productivity gains are still minor, and we have to wait another generation before the tool is perfectly mastered.


Phase 4 : Transformation of society (2000-2010)

Computer technology is part of everyone's life (automated buying, mobile computers in cars, automated homes) and society is equally reorganised in the professional sphere (tele-working, international working groups, small working teams, the emptying of big cities) as in the private domain : interactive educational programmes are just as attractive as video games, the first mistake. This is the first generation which has always known computer technology : multimedia artists are respected by society, organised crime develops in a privileged way by network, nobody can live without a computer (one wonders why) which has almost become a background item.

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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

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