TIME 1982 cover: the computer is Machine of The Year

"Several human candidates may have represented 1982, but none symbolised the past year more richly, or will be seen by history as more significant, than a machine: the computer." The edition was the annual one, usually dedicated to people who changed history. But that year the tradition was broken, because on the cover there was not person as every year but, for the first time ever, an object. The star of TIME's annual December 1982 issue was the computer, which Time named "Machine of the Year", effectively heralding the dawn of the computer age. It was the first time the editors selected a non-human recipient for the award (Planet Earth would be second, in 1988), which Time has given annually since 1927. The article stated that 80% of Americans expected that "in the fairly near future, home computers will be as common as televisions or dishwashers". 2.8 million computers were sold in the US in 1982. Ironically, author Harry McCracken wrote the article on a typewriter. In fact, the TIME editorial staff would not have computers for another year.

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