Artifact Details


Woven on the loom of sorrow : the co-evolution of computing and conflict

Catalog Number



Moving image




Booch, Grady, Speaker
Hollar, John C., Speaker


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California




"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?

Computing: The Human Experience explores these startling stories at the intersection of computing and humanity, stories that are driven by human needs. From the abacus to the iPad, from Gutenberg to Google, from Enigma to GPS, we have created computers to count the uncountable, remember beyond our own experiences, and see the invisible as well as the unforeseeable. In just one or two generations – an imperceptible time in the timeless sweep of the universe – we have created a technology that has the power to extend us, to transform us, to define us, perhaps even to destroy us.

This is the world of computing, a world upon which we have come to depend. It is as if we have created a universe, then as its creators, made the choice to step inside and live within it. As such we are both its masters as well as its servants.

This event is the first in a series of lectures for Computing: The Human Experience, a transmedia project directed to the general public that explores the co-evolution of computing and humanity. Presented by IBM Fellow Grady Booch, Computing teaches the essential science of computing, presents the stories of the people, events, and inventions in the history of computing, examines the connection among computing, science, and society, and contemplates the future. Computing has played a fundamental role in the advancement of the human spirit, encompassing war, commerce, the arts, science, society, and faith and so this series takes us on a journey that examines the complex dance between computing and the human experience.

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.

Watch this event on CHM's YouTube channel:



Collection Title

CHM Lecture Collection

Lot Number