Azekeil (azekeil) wrote,
Azekeil
azekeil

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My answer..

My answer to the question on my last post is the ability to create a (nominally) free copy of information. I believe it is this, and this purpose alone, which underpins the success of the computer.

How about some other Killer Apps?
  • Communication? Well, this is creating copies of information but this has to be communicated. Computers pre-date computer networks. I guess the ultimate purpose of creating a copy is usually for communication purposes, but I believe it's a subset of what I'm looking at. Duplicated information can be used without communication, for example.
  • Processing information? Well, yes, but this requires intelligence and additional software. Certainly the ability of a computer to be a general processor of information is important; not limited to a specific task.
No. I believe it's the simple ability to do what is impossible in the 'real' world, namely create a second 'perfect' copy (and subsequent perfect copies) of an existing piece of information at nominal cost that has ensured that computers continue to proliferate.

An Aside: If this theory is true, then it's interesting to look at the implications. One of which could be that any system that tries to restrict this ability is doomed to obscurity. So does this predict the ultimate demise of DRM? I'd like to think so ;)

In fact, if this is true, then companies who design storage mediums who realise this also must surely work to ensure that their 'content protection' is breakable[1] to ensure the continuation of their medium... DVDs are still around; they're broken. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD? Well there's already an arms race.. but seriously, can you think of any digital technology that has survived that restricts duplication of information?


1 - Although I believe that this is always possible if you have all the encrypted data - the proviso being it may take an infeasible amount of time to break. Luckily, as the end users need to be able to decrpyt the content as well, the key must be available somewhere too, it's just a matter of exposing it.. ;)
Tags: whimsical
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