Foundations of UN or First Computer More Important?



  • The year…1946
    Representatives of 21 nations met as a precursor to the UN. In the same year ENIAC, the first fully electronic computer was built.

    Which has had a greater affect on modern history? Will the champion remain so?

    Or would these be the wrong choices for 1946? Could the Chinese Civil War possibly be the most influential event?

    Any other nominations for 1946?


  • 2019 Moderator

    Here are a couple more:

    First Indochina war between the French and Vietnamese begins

    The trial of German War Criminals

    Nuclear test on Bikini Atoll

    Just throwing out a few things. 🙂



  • 1946 was also 39 years before I was born…and what year did world war 2 start? 1939 😮 coincidence, or conspiracy? dun dun dunnn camera zooms in on face



  • dezrtfish,
    I considered all those, but decided they did not compare. Though the Bikini Atoll tests were close to making it(kinda like the transistor was to the radio), but it just made a killer BOOM become a bigger BOOM.



  • Jefe,

    The computer has definetely had a bigger (and more important) part in modern history than has the UN. In fact, I would go as far as to say that computers have saved HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of more lives than has the United Nations.



  • @Deviant:Scripter:

    Jefe,

    The computer has definetely had a bigger (and more important) part in modern history than has the UN. In fact, I would go as far as to say that computers have saved HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of more lives than has the United Nations.

    mind you, given your background this may appear to be a biased opinion. Care to give a “for example”?
    i don’t know that the computer could compete with the millions of vaccinations, antibiotics etc. orchestrated by the WHO, in addition to immeasurable years of life saved by other preventative strategies initiated by the UN aimed at everything from drinking water to pharmaceuticals access to wiping out polio and smallpox. Add this to the landmine initiatives as well as many successful attempts at keeping the peace (or minimizing war) and i have a hard time buying what you’re selling, regardless of the numbers of man-hours saved by a computer.



  • Okay, fair enough. Actually, my thoughts kind of tied in with the subject matter that you put forth. The development of the medicines we have today would not even have been possible (at least not in a reasonable time frame) had it not been for computers.

    For example:

    1.) Doctors are able to instantly check drug-interactions at the touch of a button. Something that was unheard of before consumer PC’s. Not the mention the additional abundance of patients that hospitals are able to serve at the same time since all their information is streamlined.

    2.) How about going to have open-heart surgery at the hospital. Do you think that machine pumping blood through your body while you’re in surgery is running on thin air? Nope, there’s a computer in that little baby.

    3.) How about all the number crunching (in terms of DNA research) that the government has to do in order to find cures for diseases? You think that’s all done by pencil and paper? I doubt it… 😉

    I’ll list more later, but I’ve got to get to bed right now. Anyways, I guess they kind of go hand in hand, medicine and computers. However, both computers and medicine will be saving lives long after the UN is gone. 😞

    PS: I think if you’re going to count the so-called “lives saved” as a result of the UN, then you must also include the deaths that resulted because of their inaction.



  • @El:

    The year…1946
    Representatives of 21 nations met as a precursor to the UN. In the same year ENIAC, the first fully electronic computer was built.

    Which has had a greater affect on modern history? Will the champion remain so?

    AHEM
    So, you noticed that your headline for the whole thread is wrong, didn’t you?

    Second: The ENIAC is not such an achievement. Ok, it’s electrical and not leectro-mechanical. But, the more important invention to make computers “conquer” the world was the transistor …
    and the possibility to reduce the size and power needed of/for computers down from the 1000kg and 4kW for the Z3 (1941, fully binary logic, floating point) and 30t and 174 kW for the ENIAC (1946, mixed logic, fixed point) …
    so, the ENIAC is not the “typical” predecessor of taodays computers, not in the features it used. The first fully programmable computer was much closer to that.

    On the other hand you offer the UN. Here of course one would like take the “League of Nations” as comparison.
    But this would be flawed:
    (1) i don’t take the ENIAC today and say “hey it’s a great computer”, but i look at it as a historical event/invention. Using different criteria for each of the two choices would be unfair.
    (2) i compare the ENIAC to what has come after it and what has come before it.
    The UN is much better and more effective than the League of nations ever was and has never been replaced by a more capable organization, the ENIAC was “a false trail” in computer design that is not followed anymore.

    Therefore: the UN clearly wins.



  • @Deviant:Scripter:

    1.) Doctors are able to instantly check drug-interactions at the touch of a button. Something that was unheard of before consumer PC’s.

    the consumer PC is not due to the ENIAC, but due to the transistor

    3.) How about all the number crunching …

    done by ENIAC this would be overwhelmingly inefficient, especially for DNA analysis. ENIAC used a decimal logic in its processor and a binary logic in the data storage…… do i have to explain the weaknesses of that combination?

    PS: I think if you’re going to count the so-called “lives saved” as a result of the UN, then you must also include the deaths that resulted because of their inaction.

    Do you count the deaths “caused by computers”, or better by the computers inaction??



  • The Computer’s conception was a gradual process over decades and no one can really define the first “computer” clearly. Computers as a whole did change the world more than much else.

    Most important event of the 20th century? Hitler rising to dictatorship in Germany. Or Hitler begins WWII with an attack on Poland in 1939.



  • Yea, you’re right Yanny. Some people would even classify the abacus (sp?) as a computer.



  • D:S & c_c_,
    Wouldn’t lots of the UN’s accomplishments have been impossible without the advancements of ther computer?

    F_k,
    I think LJ is triying to ask the MAJOR event having affects to effect(???) the future AFTER 1946. (What say you LJ?)
    Off what I think is LJ’s topic–-In some ways(and not in others)ENIAC was the start of what came today. Would the transistor(post 1946) have had such a great effect if the computer were not developed? Did it take a large computer to help design,develop and/or build the transistor?



  • Uh, Xi, are you talkin’ ta me? Some of these shortened nicks are confusing me. CC… c_c_ … cys… etc. Sometimes your short forms are a gas!

    LJ, well, I guess I can live with that as my shortnick.

    Yes, I was asking what event of 1946 had the most effect on the next 57 years. Though I do understand F_alk’s input, it did not answer my question as I tried/meant to ask it.



  • @El:

    Uh, Xi, are you talkin’ ta me? Some of these shortened nicks are confusing me. CC… c_c_ … cys… etc. Sometimes your short forms are a gas!

    LJ, well, I guess I can live with that.

    Heh heh, luckily I took the liberty of already shortforming my name 😎 ! (ctm is my initials…or is that “are” my initials? :-? ) actually someone please answer that, cuz now it’s torturing me.



  • @Deviant:Scripter:

    Okay, fair enough. Actually, my thoughts kind of tied in with the subject matter that you put forth. The development of the medicines we have today would not even have been possible (at least not in a reasonable time frame) had it not been for computers.

    with many of the basic vaccines that have prevented untold deaths in the last century - very easily developed without a computer.
    Pasteur, Jenner, Osler, the developer of Penicillin, digoxin, cyclosporin, etc. I would respectfully submit that EACH of these people have saved more lives than a computer (and obviously never used on. This is besides the point - the point is that the UN did not absolutely require a computer to pass the life-savings on to others.

    For example:
    1.) Doctors are able to instantly check drug-interactions at the touch of a button. Something that was unheard of before consumer PC’s. Not the mention the additional abundance of patients that hospitals are able to serve at the same time since all their information is streamlined.

    big deal. I do this on a daily basis on the wards. It’s called a pocketbook of drug-drug interactions. Sure some of them may be registered in some hospitals as a stop-gap, but they are not necessary if people are careful. (Also that’s what pharmacists are for).

    2.) How about going to have open-heart surgery at the hospital. Do you think that machine pumping blood through your body while you’re in surgery is running on thin air? Nope, there’s a computer in that little baby.

    There is, and its handy, but not necessary. I’ve attended open heart surgery and a couple of techs could easily have the calculations in place for administering the appropriate amounts of gas via varying stop-cocks. True, the computer is handy, but in a day-to-day heart surgery it is only life-saving because we have made it so. Also when you weigh the risks vs. the benefits of the surgery . . . blah blah blah.

    3.) How about all the number crunching (in terms of DNA research) that the government has to do in order to find cures for diseases? You think that’s all done by pencil and paper? I doubt it… 😉

    It’s handy, however in the last 50 years i do not think it has saved very many lives. I am acutely aware of several patients who have DIED as a result of genetic engineering, but these kinds of cures have not shown the potential i believe them to have. Many of our cures have come in simple pharmacology labs (like the kind i did my master’s in) where a computer was handy for some of the statistical analysis and for helping along the geiger counter, but that was about it (oh, and it helped me type my thesis too . . . ).

    I’ll list more later, but I’ve got to get to bed right now. Anyways, I guess they kind of go hand in hand, medicine and computers. However, both computers and medicine will be saving lives long after the UN is gone. 😞

    They don’t really need to. I can name you from the top of my head 100 family physicians and speciallists who do not need a computer for their work. The rest use them for office management.
    The UN on the other hand has saved millions and millions of lives (mostly through preventative programs) by use of vaccines and antibiotics that computers have had nothing to do with.

    PS: I think if you’re going to count the so-called “lives saved” as a result of the UN, then you must also include the deaths that resulted because of their inaction.

    This is sooooo bogus. it is impossible to quantify, and in many instances their “inaction” was made so by others. The UN was not established to be an omnipotent organization, but rather one that does the best it can with limited resources. UNICEF and WHO alone i pray will continue to serve the world in the same manner that they have.



  • Ok, fair enough. Well how about this one: Terrorism. How many terrorists/criminals/scum-of-the-earth/deserve-to-die-bastards do you think the FBI, CIA, or NSA could catch or locate without the aid of computers? Matter of fact, let’s look at that on a worldwide scale. Add in the other foreign intelligence services from coalition countries. Could this have been done without computers? Doubtful at best. I’d say this application of technology has easily saved millions of lives, wouldn’t you?



  • @Deviant:Scripter:

    Ok, fair enough. Well how about this one: Terrorism. How many terrorists/criminals/scum-of-the-earth/deserve-to-die-bastards do you think the FBI, CIA, or NSA could catch or locate without the aid of computers? Matter of fact, let’s look at that on a worldwide scale. Add in the other foreign intelligence services from coalition countries. Could this have been done without computers? Doubtful at best. I’d say this application of technology has easily saved millions of lives, wouldn’t you?

    I’d say that handy and convenient manytimes the computer might be, it is at best a 2-edged sword - useful for the aiding and abetting in great evil and great good alike.



  • Death to computers :evil: ! They should have PERFECTED them before releasing 'em. I know that’s easier said then done, and I’m not exactly the right one to be saying this, but still! Ahhhh! Did you hear about that guy who pulled out a gun in the middle of a bar, and shot his laptop 4 times for crashing? Cheers to him! I don’t blame him. lol last time i got frustrated with the computer (last night) I bit the phone book 😎 Computers frustrate everyone. I’m not saying give them up, I’m just sayin, hmmm I’m not exactly sure what my solution is. Kill bill gates, and i’d feel a bit better.



  • It’s not so much the computer that is broken, it’s what the person was trying to do. Does this make sense? The computer itself didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s entirely possible that the person did. It doesn’t take an idiot to realize that trying to run dozens of programs at the same time or flooding a program with input is going to yield unpredictable results. Along with this comes the fact that some people really are shitty programmers, and releasing crap to the public doesn’t make anyone happy.

    Kill Bill Gates? Now why would you want to do that? 😞 He didn’t make that program that crashed, in fact he doesn’t even run the company anymore. Need I remind you that no program in the world is perfect, and that the only reason you hold contempt for Microsoft is because it’s the program you happen to be using (quite ironic, eh? :roll: )


  • 2019 Moderator

    @Deviant:Scripter:

    no program in the world is perfect

    What about Word Perfect? It must be it’s in the name! 😉



  • @Deviant:Scripter:

    Yea, you’re right Yanny. Some people would even classify the abacus (sp?) as a computer.

    Fully programmable is the key-word when using the term computer.
    The first fully and freely programmable computer was the Z3.

    @Xi:

    I think LJ is triying to ask the MAJOR event having affects to effect(???) the future AFTER 1946. …. In some ways(and not in others)ENIAC was the start of what came today. Would the transistor(post 1946) have had such a great effect if the computer were not developed? Did it take a large computer to help design,develop and/or build the transistor?

    @El:

    Yes, I was asking what event of 1946 had the most effect on the next 57 years. Though I do understand F_alk’s input, it did not answer my question as I tried/meant to ask it.

    Well, i think my answer to what had more effect was clear: the foundation of the UN.

    Xi, from what i wrote above, the ENIAC was start of not so much of what we have today. And for developing the transistor: if you have a look at AFAIR last years physics Nobel prize, there was no computer in that work for anything. They surely came later with Transistor computers helping the design for IC computers.



  • I agree with CC on the UN.

    Computers, we could easily do without them. Humans did for 99.9% of our race’s life. Computers have helped saved lives, but only after applying a seperate innovation which was previously related to the computer.

    Terrorists, ect are not caught by computers. They are caught by people. Computers are simply a little tool they can use to help relay information. Many con men will tell you, sure all this new technology is great, but it doesn’t beat a good head on your soldiers and a smile.


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