Wednesday, November 11, 2015

First computer at 70

NYTimes, February 1946

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the first functional computer, was finished in mid-November 1945, just after the end of World War II. Developed for military purposes and financed by the war effort, it is probably the most important technological innovation associated with the state during the war, beating that other project, the atomic bomb. This is the quintessential example of the developmental state or what Mariana Mazzucato has more recently called the entrepreneurial state.

And yes, the internet, which allows you to read this in your computer, was also funded and developed by the state (see ARPANET). True, conservatives are right (did anybody saw the debate yesterday?), without entrepreneurs unimpeded by government regulations (what did they want? drown the state in a bathtub?) there would be no progress. This computer/internet business must be a conspiracy to spy on you.

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