Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
Stock Market Increasing Technical Weakness - 22nd July 19
What Could The Next Gold Rally Look Like? - 22nd July 19
Stock Markets Setting Up For A Volatility Explosion – Are You Ready? - 22nd July 19
Anatomy of an Impulse Move in Gold and Silver Precious Metals - 22nd July 19
What you Really need to Know about the Stock Market - 22nd July 19
Has Next UK Financial Crisis Just Started? Bank Accounts Being Frozen - 21st July 19
Silver to Continue Lagging Gold, Will Struggle to Overcome $17 - 21st July 19
What’s With all the Weird Weather?  - 21st July 19
Halifax Stopping Customers Withdrawing Funds Online - UK Brexit Banking Crisis Starting? - 21st July 19
US House Prices Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021 - 20th July 19
MICROSOFT Cortana, Azure AI Platform Machine Intelligence Stock Investing Video - 20th July 19
Africa Rising – Population Explosion, Geopolitical and Economic Consquences - 20th July 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Results Analysis - 20th July 19
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

High Tech Is Born In War, Not Silicon Valley

Companies / Technology Jun 24, 2017 - 12:36 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Companies

BY GEORGE FRIEDMAN : Technology is a major foundation of national power. Technologies that define an era usually come from a major geopolitical power. Its uses are obvious.

For example, Roman engineering helped shape the Mediterranean world. British technology created and sustained the industrial revolution.

These empires could absorb the cost of innovation because they had the money to do so. They also knew it would only reinforce their power. And because technologies are meant to reinforce power, even the most benign were invented for military purposes.


The Origins of the iPhone

Consider the iPhone, an invention of Apple, the genius of Steve Jobs, and a helpful, hip, and harmless product. Or so it would seem.

The centerpiece of the iPhone, as is the case with so many electronics today, is the microprocessor. The microprocessor was sponsored by the US government back in the day, which needed a lightweight computer for missiles, aircraft, and other systems.

The technology was quickly put to use in F-14 fighter aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched nuclear missiles.

Fast forward to 1985.

General Dynamics, known at the time as GTE, helped the US Army create an advanced network for a device invented some 12 years earlier. The device was the cellphone, which would face its first true test in Operation Desert Storm.

The Army needed a reliable wireless communications system that could be easily deployed. And the cellphone fit the bill.

Many of the iPhone’s accessories and supporting functions were developed for similar purposes. The idea of digital photography was developed by the National Reconnaissance Office, which needed a more efficient way to produce photographs taken by their satellites.

Maps and location services likewise have military origins. GPS was originally meant to accurately guide the systems and vehicles of the armed forces, not Uber drivers. The satellites that make GPS possible, even today, are operated by the US Air Force.

And then there is the Internet, which is available at our fingertips. It was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—more commonly known as DARPA.

The more recent generations of iPhones feature voice recognition software. SIRI, as we’ve come to know her, was originally a DARPA-funded project of SRI International, an American research institute.

When High Tech Matures

A few points follow.

The first and most obvious is that the iPhone, an icon of innovation, is actually a composite of older technologies; only SIRI was invented this century. To its credit, Apple updated those technologies, fused them into a single platform, and turned that platform into a brilliantly packaged and marketed product.

Still, what is called “high tech” is often an older innovation updated for modern use. It’s evolutionary, but it isn’t revolutionary.

Second, the military is a primary source of innovation in our society. The 50 or so years the Cold War was fought was a heyday of technological growth. The technology needed to support global war—in space, in the air, on the sea, under the sea, and on land—required unbound creativity.

In this regard, the US, with its intellectual and financial resources, had the advantage. But the public is either unaware of or indifferent to the fact that much of the technology we now consider peaceful was designed to allow the US to wage global thermonuclear war.

Third, we are reminded not just of the age of technologies but of their maturity. Maturity is different from obsolescence. The microprocessor cannot be considered cutting edge—it was put to practical use before 1970.

But neither can it be considered obsolete. It is still widely used. It has become a foundation of society, even though it is no longer being radically innovated.

The same could be said of the automobile and the internal combustion engine. It was incredibly useful and would be sold for more than a century, but the basic innovations were in place around 1970. The industry mostly became about marketing afterward.

The microprocessor has a bright future, but its heroic days are behind it.

The Pattern of Innovation

The greatest innovations follow this loose pattern.

A handful of scientists create possibilities, which are later developed for military use before being sold in consumer markets. Governments, which are responsible for national defense, typically underwrite the research.

Private industry, which eventually benefits from it, is too risk averse to invest at that time. Instead, it takes advantage of military research and development, deploys it, and announces how much they dislike government interference in their work.

Selling products is important, but we need to understand the role that war plays in consumer products. For the pacifists who love technology and the libertarians who love it at least as much, there is a deep irony at work.

Grab George Friedman's Exclusive eBook, The World Explained in Maps

The World Explained in Maps reveals the panorama of geopolitical landscapes influencing today's governments and global financial systems. Don't miss this chance to prepare for the year ahead with the straight facts about every major country’s and region's current geopolitical climate. You won't find political rhetoric or media hype here.

The World Explained in Maps is an essential guide for every investor as 2017 takes shape. Get your copy now—free!

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules