We're losing control of our computers

The ideal of computing in which users can make their devices do whatever they want is be dying — and we'll all be worse off for it

Person plugs into a globe.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Anastasiia_New/iStock, Yutthaphan/iStock)

The first time I ever made a computer actually do something, I felt a bit like a magician. I was on an ancient little system from the '80s called the Acorn Electron, and using a couple of lines of Basic programming, I did something very simple, like change the color of the screen or fill it up with words. It was incredible, and empowering.

Making computers do things is of course so much easier now. The advent of the connected era and graphical computing has long since supplanted the obtuse, arcane days of actual programming. Now we can make a website or edit a video without really having to know anything technical at all.

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