The new machine stood in the corner of the room, its buff and gray paint shining under the cool white light of a dozen fluorescent lamps. To most people on first acquaintance, such a machine would be a thing to marvel at, but not to Arthur Smith. He eyed the new acquisition with distaste. To him, the glint of its gun metal screen hinted at something evil, as if it was only waiting to replace the men that would aspire to call themselves its master.
Arthur had been in the consulting business for thirty years. He had worked his way from office boy to his present position as manager of the design office for Roberts and Son. He was immensely proud of his job, and of the office which was largely his own creation. He worked tirelessly, not sparing himself to ensure that drawings were sent out on time and without error. Alone in the office, as he usually was at close to seven in the evening, he scowled down at the computer.
It was young Mr. Roberts who wanted it - young Mr. Roberts, almost thirty and no more than four or five years experience since graduating university. “If we want to survive in this business, we must computerize,” he had said, and the old man had been convinced, in spite of Arthur’s protests. Arthur realized that it was then that he should have backed down and accepted the machine in good grace, but it was too late now. Arthur had fought the decision with everything he had, and now young Mr. Roberts, who one day in the not too distant future would run the company, thought him a fool that was afraid of progress.
Why had Arthur fought so hard to keep Computer Aided Design out of Roberts and Son? Arthur tried once more to analyze his feelings. It would slow them down; there was a long learning curve; they could not afford the training; the capital outlay was too high, a hundred other reasons; but when Arthur stood before the mirror and bared his soul, he knew the reason well enough. He was over fifty, too late to discard all he had learned over the years and begin again with a new science. Worse still, he would start to learn the machine at the same time as the rest of his office, knowing no more than his youngest draftsman. Arthur was well aware that learning new techniques was more difficult than it used to be. There was nothing else for it, if he was to survive at Roberts and Son, the machine had to fail.
Excerpt from: The Rivals.