Technology, Management and Society by Drucker Peter;

Technology, Management and Society by Drucker Peter;

Author:Drucker, Peter;
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group

The Main Impact of the Computer has been to Create Unlimited Jobs for Clerks

The computer came on the scene in the late 1940s and, despite all the talk about how fast things go today, we have not yet got an information industry. What we need is not going to be a physical object. It is going to be what is called software – the concepts, the ideas, the logic. There also has to be a lot of peripheral and transmitting and receiving and sending equipment that will make the computer a tool one can use, which it is not today. So far the main impact of the computer has been the creation of unlimited employment opportunities for clerks. This is not great progress. But we are coming very close to the point where we will have an information industry. The pieces are probably all there: the communications satellite and the television screen and the duplicating machine and the fast printer.

What we lack primarily are large concepts which will enable people to use the machine. It will not really become usable as long as we make the asinine attempt to have the computer speak English, which it cannot do. In music, the difference between East and West is the fact that many centuries ago St. Ambrose invented notation. Up to that time music was described in words, as it still is in the East, which means you cannot have ensemble music, you cannot have keys, and you have to memorize. But we all expect seven-year-olds to learn notation in two weeks, and most of them can do it.

We are beginning to learn notation which will essentially enable anybody to use the computer without that unspeakable clumsy, slow, and expensive ‘programming’ or translation job. The proper notation, which will enable us to use an electronic medium electronically, rather than trying to use bastard language that it cannot handle and we cannot handle, is perhaps ten years away.

The future manager will find the computer as much a fact of life as children today find the telephone. This is a new form of energy; information is energy for the mind. What should the manager try to do with it? The first question is, Does it free you? Does it enable you to spend less and less time controlling and more and more time doing the important things? If the result of the computer is that you pore over more records, you are abusing it or you are being abused by it. Then you have less control, incidentally: control is not an abundance of facts, but knowing what facts to have and what they mean.

If it enables you to spend no time controlling operations, because you have thought through what you expect – and, if what you expect does not happen, you know immediately, but, so long as it does happen, you do not have to worry very much – then you are using the computer properly. The first test is, How many hours outside the office does the computer give you? In the office, you are cost-centred and not result-centred.


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