Would You Give It All Up? 8 replies

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Revenge VIP Member

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#1 12 years ago

Some folk in Britain might have seen the programme about Alan Turing on BBC Four. It was a drama charting his life and work.

Alan Turing is often regarded as the father of computers: during the Second World War, he worked as a cryptographer trying to break the Enigma code. The Enigma code was an algorithm which the Germans used to communicate, and was near impossible to break.

In simple terms, the Enigma used three rotors to encrypt letters. Each letter was given a new letter or number on press, and pressing the same letter twice would give different letters due to the rotors moving after each keypress.

This system gave 26^26 combinations, which is 6.1561195802071573107966742884002 to the power of 36. That's 6.1 Tera-Yottabits or 6.1 Quadrillion combinations, which the British government couldn't plough through in a year.

Turing had to develop a new method of decyphering, and he came up with a mechanical brain: the computer. The first computers used relays to make decisions, then later valves, transistors and now MOSFETs (Metallic-Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors. That's Higher Tech Studies for you ;)). The first computer was designed to crack the Enigma code by testing every combination and finding similarities in grammar and word length.

Eventually this computer cracked the Enigma code, and basically shortened the war by many years and stopped Britain going into submission due to the U-Boats' effectiveness.

The development of the computer was probably brought forward in History's due course because of highly increased funding and emphasis on the invention of such technolgies. If World War 2 had not taken place, it is highly likely that the computer would not have been invented for many years after.

So the question I ask is this: would you be willing to give up modern computers and the current technology we live with for WW2 not to have happened? This is a complicated issue, because WW2 killed so many innocents and caused such horrors, but computers are now saving lives today in the fields of Science and Defense. The whole world is connected to each other via the internet.

I believe I would not give up computers for WW2 not to have happened. Deaths on the scale of WW2 are statistics, and I really can't feel sorry for people I have never known. I also think that we'd have larger overpopulation if the millions hadn't died in the war. Yes, it's a macabre thought, but it's true.

So what are your thoughts? Would you give up 30 or more years of research into computing for the largest and worst human conflict not to have happened?




Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#2 12 years ago

World War II: Revenge of the Germans©, for all its bloodshed, brought about many benefits to the modern world that may not have happened otherwise -- not just on a technological front but also on a socio-political front. It also brought with it plenty of detrimental effects. Deciding whether the world would have been better or worse off without it taking place, or whether such things as computers would have been invented as quickly if at all, is a question that no person without insight into alternate timelines can really answer, in my opinion. Computing isn't really the biggest impact that WW2 had, so it's not really reason enough to start questioning the pros and cons of millions of people dying... you have to consider the other effects it had before there's a big enough counter-balance. All I will say is that if you start messing with history, things could get better, but they could also get much, much worse. I'm personally in favour of keeping the status quo, as at least the lives we lead at the moment aren't too bad, and Europe is at peace for the first time in centuries. I wonder, though, what the population of Europe would have been now if WW2 hadn't taken place...

If faster computers were the only results of WW2, though, then obviously I'd say it would be better if it hadn't happened. But they weren't the only results of WW2.




Revenge VIP Member

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#3 12 years ago

I suppose you're right. However, what I'm asking is whether you would be prepared to make the choice between computers or WW2 not happening. I understand and agree with what you said, but it would be interesting to hear what choice people would make.

Basically, 50 Million deaths or Half-Life 2, Wikipedia and iPods.




MR.X`

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#4 12 years ago

We don't know what would happen if WWII never occured. Perhaps that could have caused the Cold War to become a full conflict. We might not even be here right now, talking to each other. Perhaps the western world would have sunken into deeper depression, and we would all be very poor right now.

As odd as it may sound, you can't go back and change the past for any reason. We have no idea what impact that will have now. However, if you wanted to go back to the 1950s and purchase stock in IBM and McDonalds, that might be different.

;)




leicester20

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#5 12 years ago

I think we would still have computers and such. Other things in history would have inspired their use. After all it is Charles Babbage who is the 'father' of the computer.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#6 12 years ago

I'm with Mr. Matt on this one. WW2 caused to many other things (inventions, peace in Europe, the end of the big battleships, ... , etc. ). But we can not say what exactly would have be the effect of there only being one single world war (or atleast not world war two as we know it) , it might have been for the better or for the worse.

But to answer your question: If computer would have been th only thing that came as a result of WW2 then no the war would not have been worth it. We wouldn't miss what we never were able to see. ;) Other inventions might have happend instead, we might have used other (inventive) ways to handle what computers do for us these days etc. Computers would have been invented (close to) as we known them today eventually though seeing Alan Turing wasn't the first or only person to experimentate with computers (designs).




Delta Force

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#7 12 years ago

Großadmiral Dönitz

But to answer your question: If computer would have been th only thing that came as a result of WW2 then no the war would not have been worth it. We wouldn't miss what we never were able to see. ;) Other inventions might have happend instead, we might have used other (inventive) ways to handle what computers do for us these days etc. Computers would have been invented (close to) as we known them today eventually though seeing Alan Turing wasn't the first or only person to experimentate with computers (designs).

I agree. However, the nuke would have been created still, and having it never been used before the world would be extinct (Ruskies and US having a little nuke showdown).




Revenge VIP Member

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#8 12 years ago

Yeah, I suppose you have a point there: if the A-bomb hadn't been used on Japan, it might have been used during another conflict (I'm tempted to say the Cold War, but that wouldn't have happened for the reasons it did if WW2 hadn't).

Since we used the nuclear bombs during WW2, we were able to experiment almost instantly since we had an enemy to try it on. Had it been developed in peace time, the country who developed it (because if Einstein and the other non-American scientists hadn't fled to the Western Powers from Nazi Germany, it could well have been developed elsewhere) would have had alot of time to stock up on extra bombs before they could test it, meaning they were more likely to overuse it and create a winter which would wipe out 90% of all life.

It's amazing to think how one event can alter history so much. The moon landings wouldn't have happened without the Cold War and computers, and both of those wouldn't have come around at that time had it not been for WW2, and that wouldn't have happened were it not for WW1, and that wouldn't have happened had Britain not been such an effective force when taking colonies around the world. Basically a key factor in today's history is down to Britain being an island with a powerful navy. We're partly responsible ;)




Pethegreat VIP Member

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#9 12 years ago

Without WWI we would have not had WWII, the russian revloution would have never happened, the cold war would have never existed.

Its like 'what would have happened if the roman empire never fell' or 'what if people expaned on da vinci's ideas and plan for things such as planes and tanks.

It WWII would not have happend a worse conflict would have come out of it. Worldwide depression would have become worse and could have led to more fighiting.