By the 1960s, popular discourse on technological change highlighted concerns that computers would eventually take over most intellectual tasks, and perhaps even more than that. The flip side of these fears about what computers might do was the fact that early computers still required an enormous amount of labor in order to successfully and completely run programs.Early mainframes were prone to breakdowns and human labor was a key part of the fiction of effortless automation represented in the popular press.Source: ICL News, 1970 Paradoxically, the same sexual strictures that hurt women’s employment chances also meant that women were ideal fodder for a new type of computing project.A growing interest in inserting new electronic computer technology into men and women’s lives as romantic middlemen was beginning to gain momentum.“There are fewer and fewer operations today that a man can do which a well educated computer cannot do faster and more accurately,” a columnist in the London Times wrote, synthesizing the growing anxiety about computers in the culture at large.
(Yes, we share diff ideas of respect- they think it’s us not shouting at them- we think it’s them not making us look bad by checking out our competition.) 5) Boy time. Men need their space, even if it’s sitting home playing p S3 with their best buds, when they feel this no longer becomes an option for them- they’ll be looking for away OUT.
The operators who made this possible in the Anglo-American world tended to be women.
The machines, on the other hand, were coded as masculine and aligned with the male innovators who designed them.
But the reason that it was making an appearance on the cover of the New Yorker almost a decade later had less to do with the specific computer in question, and more to do with what computer technology was coming to represent by the early 1960s: a potential challenge to the capacities and talents of human beings. By the early 1960s, mainframes had crept into the popular consciousness through news reports and advertising.
They were still poorly understood by the public at large, and many people were unsure about what these new machines could actually do, as well as what sorts of tasks they should do.
The article connects this history to other examples in the history of technology that show how technological systems touted as “revolutionary” often help entrenched structural biases proliferate rather than breaking them down.