Twenty or so years ago, people spoke of "computer error" as if computers had the ability to work without human interference. As personal computer use increased in homes and offices, more and more people realized that even the smartest computers do only what they are told. Most of us became unwilling to accept "computer error" as an excuse. Now, however, The Post is trying to bring us back to fear of the personified computer.

In "Techno-Obscenities" {Style Plus, June 19} Nikki Finke of the Los Angeles Times writes of receiving a series of obscene computerized phone calls. Like something from a Stephen King thriller, this computer (in her mind) has a mind of its own. She refers to "It" always with a capital "I," likens "It" to "the evil twin of Hal in '2001' " and calls "It" a "pervert." Her only references to a person are in passing and are dismissed quickly as irrelevant. She is going to find out what -- not who -- is making these calls, and prosecute "It."

Computers are not capable of human thought. They have no capacity for emotion. They are not capable of independent action. No computer is making obscene phone calls to Nikki Finke or to anyone else. Some person using a computer is making the calls.

Obscene phone calls invade our privacy and violate our feelings of security. A computerized voice is neither more nor less threatening than an unrecognized or disguised voice. We may be appalled by the people who produce those voices, but they are all produced by people. PATRICIA SELK Garrisonville, Va.