1. Food Gathering
2. Agriculture
3. Simple Technology    First production of goods,  growing
   -----------------    invention

                        Specialisation of skills - output larger
                        when person knows the correct proceedures

                        Growing specialisation increases output.
4. City State           Workshops - more equipment

5. Empire (Roman)       First large scale production -
   --------------       economies of scale  -  large plants


6. Medieval (Europe)    As (4)
   -----------------    High level of invention starts

7. Industrial           Large production with mechanical power,
   Revolution           replacing muscle.
                        Humans used increasingly for
                        "computation" in controlling machines

8. Consumer Society     High levels of specialisation

9. Mass Production      Mass production methods
   ---------------      Mechanical "computation" begins to take
                        over from humans in controlling machines,
                        which become increasingly complex.
                        Steady reduction in the number of humans
                        needed  -  beginnings of the concept of

                        Electronic "computation" becomes cheaper
                        than mechanical methods,  and begins a


The Constant Trend obviously involves an increasing output for less human time, which is brought about by a combination of factors:

  1. Invention increasingly adds to the stock of human knowledge of how to do things. High levels of invention probably herald high levels of economic growth (from Conditions of Economic Growth)

  2. Increasing specialisation - which means that once a group of tasks is learnt by humans they can achieve greater output

  3. Increasing amount of machines and equipment take over from man in actually making things

  4. Economies of scale - (2) & (3) encourage the use of a number of skills and equipment in concert. This has led to larger organisations

  5. Man's role in controlling machines is gradually taken over by the machines themselves (first by mechanical devices, later by electronic).

One can expect all of these factors to operate in a future period. But the one likely to cause a more obvious change is the last. It is cheaper to undertake many of the machine-controlling tasks by installing a programmable computer, than to attempt ever more complex mechanical devices.

Widespread computing power within machines leads to many possibilities.


It would seem from trends from Computation that programmable computers in machines has a long way to go.

It firstly enables operations to be carried out which would not be possible with human or mechanical computation.

But it comes under the trend of Computation - where computers are tending to link up with each other. With computers widespread in industry, their increasing appearance in production machinery enables links to be made with, say, the factory computer.

Tasks which are still left with the operator can then be increasingly automated. For example, work scheduling carried out by the factory computer is automatically programmed into each machine.

Links will occur between factory computer and outside bodies - e.g. sales, purchasing, finance - or direct with customers' and suppliers' computers.

Here we are a long way along the road to the automated factory - where the people employed will increasingly be concerned with designing the products, and the production system, and maintaining it - rather than operating it.

Most of these links have been made in some industries in the Post Industrials. Making them universal will take a long time to forge, and will probably proceed on a trial and error process. The time scales will differ between industries.

The links between computers gives rise to a new communication media, which we call the Computer-Media . Where as most media for the flow of information usually merely pass information in one direction, this new media is passing information in multi-directions, and obtaining decisions and actions as it does so - largely automatically. We regard this as one of the most important developments of our time.

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