||There is one other invention that is absolutely invaluable in
modern society, and that is the computer. Computers were first built of complex rows of
cogs and gears in what was called a difference engine. The first computer to be built was
designed and built by Charles Babbage, and it could subtract and add a two digit number.
The next major step for the computer was making it electronic. Early
electronic computers used vacuum tubes and were the size of rooms. The vacuum tubes often
blew up, and spares were expensive and difficult to install. When the transistor came
along these room sized monsters could be shrunk into 1/10th of the space, but they were
still large and radiated a lot of heat.
The microchip, pioneered by Intel and others, really enabled the new
"Information Economy". Today computers are over 10,000 times more powerful than
the room sized computers of the 40's and half of the worlds computers are linked together
in a massive computer information network called the Internet.