What Would You Be Doing If Computers Didn't Exist?

Published 04 December 08 01:45 PM | Scott Mitchell

Over Thanksgiving weekend Fredrik Normen asked an interesting hypothetical question: What would you be doing today if computers didn't exist?

I've been programming since age 10 when my family procured its first personal computer and my dad showed me how to use GW-BASIC and your imagination to make computer games. So it's hard to imagine a life without computers. (Heck, it hard to imagine life without the Internet, yet close to half of my computing lifetime was spend disconnected. I guess I have a poor imagination.)

If computers didn't exist I would probably be employed in one of three fields:

  • The sciences - in high school I had an interest in biology and physics and, for a brief time, actually considered majoring in Biology at University before deciding that computer science would be a more interesting and enjoyable path. If computers had never existed I could see myself going down this path, perhaps being an 'in the field' biologist or, if the math didn't kill me, a physicist.
  • Education - I've always enjoyed teaching and tutored younger kids in science and math during high school to earn some spending money. I doubt I'd have the patience or fortitude to be a full-time public teacher, but teaching in a higher education facility or personal tutoring could be something I'd do for a living.
  • Writing - I started writing stories (longhand) when I was in elementary school, and didn't stop writing fiction until college. If computers didn't exist perhaps I'd be a technical writer, writing the instruction manual for abacuses and slide rules.

What would you be doing today if computers didn't exist?

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