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Did You Know: Time Magazine Named the Computer its “Man of the Year” in 1983

In 1983, Time Magazine decided that the computer was important enough to name it the official Man of the Year. Though portions of the piece praised the computer for its ingenuity and capabilities, Steve Jobs himself felt as though the article was a hit piece.  Fortune Magazine claimed that Jobs “ believed he had been betrayed by Moritz (the editor), that he was jealous and … wrote this terrible hatchet job” (Fortune 2011). The Times article blasted the computers technical problems and its potential social concerns, such as its effects on employment. Friedrich, the author, wrote, “Even if all the technical and intellectual problems can be solved, there are major social problems inherent in the computer revolution.”

The author was correct, however, when he asserted at the end of the article, “Perhaps the revolution will fulfill itself only when people no longer see anything unusual in the brave New World, when they see their computer as a fearsome challenger to their intelligence, but as a useful linkup of some every day gadgets, the calculator, the TV, and the typewriter” (Times 1983). Friedrich couldn’t have been more right. The computer IS a part of our every day life, and we don’t think about it anymore than any other gadget. Perhaps we would only notice it so much if it were gone.

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