What is a Computerized Machine?

M. McGee

A computerized machine is a hybrid between an operational computer system and a machine that normally doesn’t have a computer attached to it. In an effort to eliminate workers and increase productivity, many companies use computerized machines. These machines can perform simple and repetitive tasks better than a human worker can and at a fraction of the cost. Computerized machines have seen their share of controversy, as their installation often means a loss of human jobs.

Modern weaving machines can be controlled by computers on an industrial scale.
Modern weaving machines can be controlled by computers on an industrial scale.

Standard directed machines and computerized machines are similar, but different things. A directed machine has a human worker directing its actions. While the human worker may not be responsible for every action the machine makes, the human needs to control it to the extent that it can’t function on its own. Machines like this are common in many manufacturing and assembly companies.

Directed machinery requires a human to control its actions.
Directed machinery requires a human to control its actions.

A computerized machine doesn’t have a human directly overseeing its actions—it has a computer program telling it when to do things and how to do them. A human may be watching over the computer system looking for malfunctions or errors, but the actual machine is out of his control.

One of the earliest adopters of both directed and computerized machines was the textile industry. They created weaving machines that first used an unskilled operator and then a computer, instead of a skilled weaver. The computer executes each step in order, without fail. The computer is constantly checking its work for errors in craftsmanship or supply. For instance, if a source of thread runs out and it creates an item with a small hole as a result, the item is set aside and marked as part of its programming.

The computerized machine has several advantages over directed machinery. One of the biggest advantages is cost. A computerized machine may have a large upfront cost, but if it replaces a worker, then you have eliminated that worker and all of her benefits from the budget. The other main advantage is accuracy. Since computers don’t get tired, it is possible for one to work 24 hours a day and have no more errors in the first hour than in the last.

The business advantages of a computerized machine have caused many problems in the working world. The increase in computers eliminates the need for unskilled labor in manufacturing and assembly jobs. The machines that replace workers often require special knowledge or skills that the people replaced do not have. This causes people to lose their jobs without having the option of being rehired in the new system.

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