Hardware




School House Rock
Scooter Computer

Hardware

I beat you this time Mr. Chips. You're really good at these video games, but I can beat you sometimes.

Of course Scooter, because I'm no smarter than the person who programs me. After all, I'm only hardware, just like nuts and bolts.

Oh yeah, you're the smartest bag of nut and bolts I've ever seen.

Listen Scooter, some people assume that simply because a computer can gobble up all kinds of numbers and facts and figures and whatever data you happen to feed It, some people assume because a computer knows how to remember instructions and data and whatever it's told, and deliver it back whenever you need It as quick as a wink, some people assume a computer can think.

You mean you're not really so smart, Mr. Chips?

Right, Scooter, I'm not equipped to be smart. I'm not equipped to think. I'm equipped to use software and process information, not to understand it.

What's software?

The instruction you decide to give me.

And how do you use software?

I use software with my hardware. The terminal keyboard you touch when you want to say hi to me, that's hardware, my video screen when I want to reply to you, that's hardware too, and this complicated equipment crammed inside of me, too tiny for you to see, that's hardware, too.

Nothing but diodes, capacitors, and resistors, interconnections and transistors, jammed together like canned sardines, thousands of teeny, tiny machines, printed on miscroscopic strips called chips.

Chips ... So that's why they call you ...

Precisely.

Gee, Mr. Chips, you have a great brain!

Brain? No, Scooter, I have no brain. Some people assume that simply because I can beat them at math, and war games, and chess, and checkers, invaders a raiders, all in the same afternoon, some people assume because I can shoot off a rocket and chart it and clock it, control and command it and steer it and land it, precisely there on the moon-it's hard to explain, but some people assume I have a brain.

OK, but if you don't have a brain, how can you do so many different things?

Because of the different kinds of software people can feed me, scientists or secretaries; astronauts or accountants; managers or musicians; as long as it's put in a language I can understand, I can store the directions in my chips.

I assure you I haven't a brain and I haven't a heart,

And my chips would feel no pain if you took me apart,
And I'll never know good from bad, or black from white,
And I'll never know happy from sad or wrong from right.

I'm nothing but diodes, capacitors, and resistors, interconnections and transistors, jammed together like canned sardines, thousands of teeny, tiny machines, printed on microscopic strips called chips. And it's all hardware just like nuts and bolts.

You're sure a smooth talker, Mr. Chips.

Maybe so, Scooter, but you're the brains of the operation.


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