Ever since the introduction of the personal computer, our daily lives are infl uenced more and more by computers. A day in the life of a PhD-student illustrates this: “At the breakfast table, I check my e-mail to see if the meeting later that day has been confi rmed, and I check the time table of the train to Rotterdam. In the train, I might check the latest news on my mobile phone with internet access and from the moment I enter the offi ce to the moment I leave, 95% of the work I perform involves computer work. I spend my day reading and writing articles, searching information online, keeping in contact with fellow researchers and performing data analyses. At the end of the afternoon, I check the computer data fi les from study participants that have automatically been sent to us by means of the university network. Back home, I buy tickets for a music festival online, and stream the TV program I missed the night before from my laptop to the television. While I’m lying in bed, I just send a quick message to a friend on MSN with my laptop, and with that, another computer-fi lled day has ended.” Th e rise of IT (information technology, which refers both to devices that have digital technology built in and to software that is implemented in those devices) has led to a massive change in the working process and working conditions since the 1960’s. Th is impact has only been matched by the fi rst and second industrial revolutions (Fourth European Working Conditions Survey 2005). A large IT research company stated that during the summer of 2008, the number of personal computers in use had surpassed 1 billion units, with the expectancy of another billion unit increase already in 2014 (Gartner 2008).

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Financial support for realizing this thesis was kindly provided by Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO-VIDI-program) and the Erasmus Fellowship.
M.A. Frens (Maarten)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Richter, J. (2009, November 19). Computer Use Exposed. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/17262