Do wars really advance technology? Or does technology advances and then is (ab)used at wars?

Continuing the discussion from This is the Space Age:

Continuing the discussion from This is the Space Age:

I rather dissagree. I admit I do not know the specifics but i am prety confident that technology advanced pre war, making say iron spears instead of copper and then after the iron spears were developed it was used to attack the inferior neighbor etc. Same goes for modern times weapons too. Perhaps the atomic bomb was developed during world war 2, but the science and theory for it came before the war. Most modern weapons are being developed with huge R&D money from departments of defence and then wars are iniciated to field test them. (and show the “enemy” what bad motherfock3rs we are in the process). Additionaly weapons are mostly developed from countries that do not have active wars on their soil. Say Fance, Germany, the US etc…

I wouldn’t say wars themselves advance technology, but war and the threat of war do force cultures to adopt their enemy’s technology. Arguably one goal of world capitalism is to replace the violent dispersion of technology through war, with free trade.

however all I see is weapons companies profiting from stupid wars. And billions of $ funneled to them for R$D. Free trade at its finest…

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War may advance some technologies, by shifting priorities. Let’s face it, most of our space program came straight out of cold-war competition in ICBM technology.

I might be interested in PhD thesis on the subject, but I’d be surprised if anyone commenting on a BBS could pull anything meaningful out of their arse in a few hundred words…

It’s a fairly large subject, but more importantly, it’s not a transparent one.

And how do you interpret the question? If you consider it to mean ‘Do wars [and the threat of war] really advance technology [beyond a point it’d reach otherwise]?’ (which I suspect is the intended meaning) you get a different answer than if you read the question more literally.

pardon my english knowledge. Its not vast. But yes a BBS conversation no matter how interesting cant be as meaningful as a well researched PHd, which would be very interesting indeed. The notion thought that wars advance technology is quite widespread. Perhaps an effort to rationalise war itself and make something positive out of it. I just happen to dissagree with that I dont have anything solid to base my feeling though. And I am not going to make a PHd about it :slight_smile:

Well, if you’re interested in my opinion, I’d say there’s nothing controversial about the proposition; it reflects the fundamental reality of our nature.

Like it or not, fight/flight is a more intense thing than even fuck, and was evolved to get the job done. Fuck makes for a whole lot of great music and fashion and well-styled cars and what have you, but it won’t put a man on the moon.

And unfortunately, the gamut of motivations between fight/flight and fuck just aren’t in the same league of intensity; they’re rarely if ever all-consuming.

…But the impetus of technological development is shifting to the point where it’s developing itself to a greater and greater extent; perhaps eventually leading to something as transcendent as Adams’ Deep Thought designing Earth.

Since this is still open…
War (and military applications) provide funding - “and funding makes this bird go up. No bucks, no Buck Rogers”.
Especially when you already are in a shooting war and suddenly some silly egghead theories don’t seem so silly anymore because there just might be the chance that the enemy turns them into weapons.
Which is exactly what happened regarding the atomic bomb.
Leó Szilárd feared the possibility of a nuclear bomb. After proving that a chain reaction is possible he feared that the Nazis would get there first. The rest is history.
As Truman said, developing the bomb was the biggest gamble ever. But the prize was far too attractive, and the US had the resources to do it. When they started the Manhattan Project, they didn’t even know which way to go regarding fissionable material - centrifuges or reactors? So they just did both, both ways worked and that way they got two types of fissionable material, enriched Uranium and Plutonium.
(Yes, I’m omitting the British effort in this, again. Peierle, Frisch, et al who made essential contributions on the theoretical side. It’s just that they didn’t have the cash.)

Sadly, it’s easier to get funding for weapons research than for everything else. That’s wrong, so write your representative today!

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