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Nothing typifies modernity better than the computer. Presently, computers perform advanced tasks than the basic computing operations. Computers are composed of two parts namely the software and hardware. Softwares are instructions to the computer to operations. Hardware refers to the physical components such as the monitor, key board and system unit.  Necessary knowledge is required to operate the hardware and softwares. With respect to this, paper discusses the development of computers, computer illiteracy and necessary actions to curb computer illiteracy.

The process of development is divided into five distinct generations namely first generation, second up to fifth generation. The first generation existed from 1940 to 1956 (Alton, 2011). Computers of this period were extremely large and used vacuum tubes and magnetic drum for circuitry and data storage respectively. They consumed a lot of electricity and produced heat that resulted in malfunctions. They were extremely difficult to operate since they used machine language, which is the lowest programming language, to perform mathematical operations (Alton, 2011). The second generation existed from 1956 to 1963. The vacuum tubes of the previous generation were replaced by the transistors, which were superior to the vacuum tubes. They also reduced the large sizes of the first generation computers. The transistors improved the speed, conserved energy and were more reliable and cheaper than their predecessors. Programming language shifted from machine language to assembly language.

The third generation existed between 1964 and 1971 (Alton, 2011).  These computers used integrated circuits for processing information. Other components of the circuit included smaller transistors and silicon chips. Input methods included the keyboard and mice. Users interacted with the computer through the operating system interface. The fourth generation existed from 1971 to present. This generation is epitomized by the introduction of microprocessors, which consists of thousands of integrated circuits. The microprocessor remarkably reduced the large sizes (Alton, 2011). For example, Intel 4004 chip was able to locate computer components such as system unit and input/output controls on a single chip. IBM and Apple introduced their first personal computer in 1981 and 1984 respectively. The fifth generation of computers comprises of some of the present computers and future prospects in the computing field. The future computers are presumed to be extremely advanced due to the artificial intelligence. Parallel processing is another prospect meant to facilitate the use of artificial intelligence. The objective of this generation is developing computers that can respond to natural language.

Computer illiteracy is the inability to use computers and related devices (Lasar, 2010). In the current times, computer literacy is linked to the ability to use the Internet proficiently. This concept was arrived at because any individual has at least used computerized device such as phones, calculators and digital watches. A survey showed that most Americans overwhelmingly perceive that computers and the Internet have improved lives in all aspects. Another research revealed that 30% of Americans do not know how to use the Internet, which indicates some illiteracy levels (Lasar, 2010). These results are vulnerable to criticism since the Internet cannot determine computer literacy. It is exceedingly difficult arrive at the exact percentage of computer illiterates unless a research that is limited to an application such as the Internet. Computer literacy levels vary widely among individuals (Lasar, 2010).

Reducing computer illiteracy requires an understanding of its causalities. Some of the causalities include low income, old age, illiteracy and individual perceptions about technology among others (Alton, 2011). Donating used or new computers to low income families that do not have an access to computers will reduce literacy. Television and free IT demonstrations will be substantial in addressing the issue. The elderly can be encouraged to use computers by explaining the benefits of technology to them. Offering free talks to organizations that do not use computers in their operations is particularly significant in increasing literacy among employees (Lasar, 2010).

In conclusion, computer development is grouped into five generations, from the first to the fifth generation. Complexity and reliability are key features, which advance from one generation to another. Almost 30% of the Americans do not know how to use the internet, which can be perceived as the percentage of computer illiterates.

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