Computers are not as complicated as you think


What happens when you place a group of smart people in a room doing some meaningful repetitive task over and over again? You get people thinking to themselves “how can I do this faster, more efficiently and requiring less user interaction”.

That is the history of computers in a nutshell.

Probably spurred on by the sudden need to decode secret messages in the second world war, People threw themselves into the computer realm and brought forth our digital ancestors. A couple of trips to the computer room with their circuit boards and live wire interfaces and someone thought to themselves “i bet I could standardize this”. Then came punch cards, after all the fuss with people waiting for someone to finish their jobs someone thought “i bet I could speed this up”. Then came tape drives. “i bet I could make this more efficient” then came pipelines, serial buses, operating systems, personal computers, motherboards, hard drives, iPods, iPhones, iThinkMooresLawIsOutOfControl.

Everything seems to have emerged out of the need to improve the process before it. Most of the systems we have today wouldn’t have been around if it wasn’t for the many people before us getting tired of doing the same thing over and over again, at slower speeds, at greater costs. The modern computer is a product of this great history chain.

So step back in time a little. Lets think about the war, The first time a computer was imagined, It was in the 18th century by a man named Charles Babbage. He had the foresight to construct with materials that were conceptually possible but practically unavailable in his time. Go checkout this [site], his invention looks quite marvellous. But I don’t think human kind was as driven to create such a monstrosity because there was no need, no looming threat that required it. But the war, That was reason to pull out every new fangled invention and yet-to-be-invented thing for the cause of self preservation. The military. War spurred the production of the world’s most useful technology.

I wonder what would have happened had war not broken out. Would we be as advanced as we are today? Would someone have good reason, time and money to consider such a machine? Computers are pretty complicated. Even the most basic systems had a multitude of components. Would the drive for industry be good enough to create the computer or did we need the thought of impending doom to motivate us?

I wonder what the computer would be composed of if it was industry not war that caused the computer to blossom. from my last post:

Who knows whether there is some greater abstraction that when applied to electrical currents and plasmatic substances will produce greater throughput and quality of work for less effort.

People are inherently impatient and poor. We strive to improve our lives in an endless effort for free time. Ironic that the most advanced societies feel like the busiest cultures on earth.


About naredjagle

Christian Computer Scientist Casual Gamer Competitive Creative ... ... Coldplay?
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