SCIENCE: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century
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Thread: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

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    Goddess of Hell Lyrebird's Avatar Moderator
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    Default DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    From 1900 to 1999.

    In your opinion and why.

    - Be respectful to each others opinions
    - Do not attack a user directly or personally insult them
    - Keep in mind that if you agree or disagree, please explain why. We don't want single word answers basically


    You get one choice and explain why. Pretty straightforward, so go nuts.

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    I am torn between sending data over a telephone line and the nuclear warhead. At the end of the day I am gonna have to say the Nuclear Warhead as the threat of destruction was enough to prevent World War 3 and save millions if not billions of lives through endless warfare in Europe and who knows where else.

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Funny, I was actually torn between the two choices that Lutz mentioned (sending data over a telephone line aka the internet and the nuclear warhead) but I would actually choose the internet. My reasoning for this is that we've reached a point in history that too many nations have nuclear weapons and for that reason no one will ever use them again (please, please, please hope that I'm right because if I'm wrong...)

    However the internet is a technology that has changed nearly everything in the world in terms of how we interact with our surroundings and the people in our lives. And this is a technology that has so much untapped potential to offer.

    Other things I considered were the television, the computer (but again the internet is what really makes the invention of the computer so compelling) and the telephone (because I can't count and realized that 1876 is before 1900)
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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    See the only reason I discounted the internet at the end is because the telegraph and telephone existed in the 1800s thus information by voice could still be transmitter across the globe. Granted the internet sped up technological progress but one could reason the same progress would still be made, although at a much slower pace, with the telephone and telegraph

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    I would count the internet as a 20th century invention.

    For me it is tough, I would have to say either television because of how it impacted the world by bringing them together but I guess I'm going to go with Sputnik because that started the Space Race which increased technology tenfold which created technology that we have in every day life making it easier. So I'm going with like Sputnik.

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    Of your Imagination Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    There have been, throughout history, three great revolution of communication technology.

    The first was writing. The ability to fix knowledge so it could be preserved and passed on even without face to face communication was a massive step forward.
    It, however, remained limited by the fact that written texts were extemely limited in availability. If you had the tablet or parchment that said XYZ, then only a bare handful of others in the world, at most, had it. Perhaps even nobody else.

    The second was printing. By allowing the easy and relatively cheap reproduction of knowledge, it made dissemination of information across vast numbers of people far easier, especially as more and more people learned to read.
    However, that kind of information dissemination still required access to important means: a publication stranglehold, so to speak. Television, radio, etc, didn't change anything to that: they were essentially printing with other mediums, suffering from the same issues.

    The internet, on the other hand, completely upended that. By allowing cheap and easy publication of knowledge, it made it possible for just about anyone with something to say to step forward and say it.

    Nuclear fission (bombs + nuclear plant) still give the internet a run for its money, because nuclear fission revolutionized our conception of international diplomacy. But both of them have been some of the biggest socio-cultural revolutions of the twentieth century (the internet's changes being far from fully done).

    Ultimately, I THINK the answer depend on the exact phrasing of the question.

    If we ask which one HAS BEEN the most important, then nuclear fission. It HAS changed the world.
    But if we ask which one will be most important over all, when all is said and done? The internet has changed the world, is changing th eworld, and will probably continue changing the world for years to come. In the long run, I expect the cyber-revolution to completely outclass the nuclear revolution.
    Last edited by Evil Figment; 3rd August 2014 at 10:54 PM.
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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Let's not forget what made the Internet as we know it possible in the first place: the microprocessor. Those little chips are in everything now, and allowed the true usage of the Internet. Can you imagine a world with Internet, as we know it, but without the ready access granted to us by laptops, smartphones, or even your standard desktop computer?

    The microprocessor allowed the Internet to evolve in the first place, past a simple connection between massive, clunky machines used to transfer information. This evolution made the technological revolution we're seeing now possible, and even had a hand in how those nuclear warheads were produced, stored, and tested.

    That's why it has my vote as most important invention of the 20th century.

    Credit to HikaruIzumi for the awesome avatar!

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Penicillin. While the original incarnation of penicillin wasn't amazingly effective, it inspired and led to many synthetic derivatives used for treating many diseases, saving countless lives, both during and after wars.


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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    The internet for sure has revolutionised the world like never before.
    It has made the world so much smaller, and made us all global citizens, people can now do things they never could before at the click of the button.

    You can go shopping, you can talk to friends, you can organise events, you can play games, you can sell your old toys, you can protest, you can run a business.
    Life without the internet would so suck, we have so much freedom now that we could never of had before.

    Nuclear weapons just gave us a new way to kill each other.
    Gave the countries with a big stick an even bigger stick that is all.

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Quote Originally Posted by Solayoh View Post
    Nuclear weapons just gave us a new way to kill each other.
    Gave the countries with a big stick an even bigger stick that is all.
    But isn't that "New Way to Kill" practically stop a multitude of wars and prevent killing? What stopped the Soviet Union from invading western Europe? What stopped the United States from invading Cuba? What stopped India and Palestine from coming to all out war? What stopped the Middle East from attacking Israel after the 1970s? With out nuclear weapons we could see a constant state of war between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers existing across Europe even to this day. And of course lets not forget that nuclear weapons saved hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives by preventing the invasion of Japan.
    Last edited by Big Lutz; 5th August 2014 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Sadly, Lutz is right. Probably tens of millions who would be dead today instead lived because nuclear weapons at last made war an unthinkable option.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Figment View Post
    Sadly, Lutz is right. Probably tens of millions who would be dead today instead lived because nuclear weapons at last made war an unthinkable option.
    Since when has war been an unthinkable option? Most of the Islamic world is at war with Israel despite Israel having nuclear weapons.
    Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands despite the UK having nuclears. Ukraine and Russia are currently in a Pseudo war despite Russia having Nuclears, Georgia was also involved in a war with Russia in 20008

    Nuclear weapons may stop nuclear wars, because of Mutually Assured Destruction, but if nuclear weapons didnt exist in the first place there'd be no nuclear wars to stop.
    And as we can see countries having nuclear weapons don't shield countries from war at all really.

    In fact, why Nuclear weapons are really not the best invention, are because of the threat they pose. What if Iran or N. Korea get Nuclear weapons, will you all still be saying then how great an invention they were?

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    Most of the inventions are obviously very important and helpful in life as we know it today but i'd personally say antibioitcs. We can invent lots of things to make life more convenient but fundamentally, preserving life is the most important feat you can achieve, surely? Thanks to antibiotics, the population thrives and the average life expectancy has dramatically increased. The World's population would be a lot smaller if not for that, particularly some countries were infectious diseases have always been rampant. Transportation, communication and nuclear power is definitely helped us thrive and definitely saved lives through different means but still not as much as actual medicine has.

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    Of your Imagination Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    If you think these wars in any way compare to what we called war before nuclear weapon, you're wrong.

    Here's a helpful little chart I drew up.

    World War II (total): 60 millions dead (low-end estimate) (other WW II figures are averages)
    World War II, per year: 10 million dead
    Vietnam War, (total): 3.8 million dead (high-end estimate; 1955-1975, costliest international conflict since WW II)
    Iran-Iraq War, Total : 1 million dead
    World War II, per month: 830 000 dead
    Iraq War total: 600 000 (highest estimates, 2003-2011)
    World War II, per-week: 192 000 dead
    Vietnam, per year: 190 000 dead
    Arab-Israeli Conflict, total: 116 000 dead (1920-2014)
    Iraq War, per-year: 75 000 dead
    World War II, per-day: 27 000 dead
    Vietam, per month: 16000 dead
    Vietnam, per week: 3700 dead
    Georgia War, total: 2500 dead
    Ukraine Civil War, current estimates: 2200 dead.
    Arab-Israli Conflict, per-year: 1234 dead
    World War II, per-hour: 1 100 dead
    Falklands War, total : 910 dead
    Vietnam, per day: 521 dead
    Vietnam, per hour: 22 dead

    In short, while small, limited wars remain viable, any sort of large-scale international conflicts pitting large forces against each other is, in fact, unthinkable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

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    Default Re: DISCUSSION - What was the most important invention in the 20th century

    A military historian would be able to give better info than I can, but I am reminded of the fact that the Tokyo bombings killed more people than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings combined. Major powers already had the capacity to create massive collateral damage, especially in densely populated areas like Tokyo and Gaza. Nuclear weapons have improved since WWII, and regular weapons have also improved to reduce collateral damage.

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