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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 196 of Matt Ridley’s excellent new (2020) book, How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom:

The development of the computer is always supposed to have been accelerated by wartime funding, but the counterfactual of what would have happened if war had not broken out (in 1939 for Britain and Germany, in 1941 for America), is hard to discern. By 1945, without war, there would undoubtedly have been devices that were electronic, digital, programmable and general purpose. Indeed, without the need for secrecy, they might have evolved faster, as separate teams shared ideas faster and used their devices for other purposes than calculating the trajectories of artillery shells or decoding the secret messages of enemies. Had Zuse, Turing, von Neumann, Mauchly, Hopper and Aiken all met at a conference in peacetime, who knows what would have happened and how fast?


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