Most computer users have an incorrect, but useful, cognitive metaphor for computers in which the user says (or types or clicks) something and a mystical, almost intelligent or magical, behavior happens. It is not a stretch to describe computer users as believing computers follow the laws of magic, where some magic incantation is entered, and the computer responds with an expected, but magical, behavior. This magic computer does not actually exist. In reality computer are machines, and every action a computer performs reduces to a set of mechanical operations. In fact the first complete definition of a working computer was a mechanical machine designed by Charles Babbage in 1834, and would have run on steam power. Probably the biggest success of Computer Science (CS) in the 20th century was the development of abstractions that hide the mechanical nature of computers. The fact that average people use computers without ever considering that they are mechanistic is a triumph of CS designers.
Charles Kann, Gettysburg College
Charles Kann, Gettysburg College, “Implementing a One Address CPU in Logisim,” Open Educational Resource (OER) , accessed March 7, 2021, http://oer.iain-padangsidimpuan.ac.id/items/show/2231.