Woven on the Loom of Sorrow


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
    Joshua from War Games

Did you use the Internet today? Did you find your way using GPS? Have you used a credit card, or made a call on your mobile phone, or flown on an airplane? The very fabric of our lives – from semiconductors to Silly Putty™, from work to play – has in many ways been shaped by war and woven on the loom of sorrow.

The human needs for survival, protection, and dominance are powerful forces that have driven civilization for millenia. What does it say about us that we expend all this energy, concentration, money and emotion on fighting rather than talking? There is something fascinating – and telling – about the intersection of humanity and computing when it comes to fighting for survival. And, if we follow the consequences at the confluence of computing and conflict, what does it mean to have a war where no humans are present?

In this lecture, Grady explores the tangled web that connects both computing and conflict. How would computing have evolved without war as a clear and present force upon it? How will nations adjust to the ways in which computing has radically altered the very nature of warfare?

“Woven on the Loom of Sorrow” investigates this rich yet tragic connection between computing and conflict and considers the implications in the future of war.

Thanks to the generous support of the Computer History Museum, this lecture was first presented publicly on February 24, 2012, as part of the CHM Soundbytes Lecture Series.