I'm surprised that only one person mentioned that WW2 was fought with computers in the back rooms.
Military funding to fight the USSR was a pretty big motivator behind IT. The government put a lot of money into researching electronics, the IC, the Internet, crypto, and 3D graphics. Even BSD Unix from peace-and-love Berkeley had war funding. Half our tax money went to war-related uses, and a big chunk of that went into developing technologies. Even the "civilian" space program was just a front for developing war technology.
Without the USSR and its arsenal of nuclear missiles present as a credible global rival, the US has slipped into figuring out how to deal with the threat of homemade explosives. You don't need to be a "rocket scientist" to solve this problem.
You also don't need to be an American rocket scientist anymore, because China, India, and Russia are no longer enemies or potential enemies.
Don't get me wrong - I'm basically a pacifist and into human rights, internationalism, and all that. I don't want a return to the Cold War.
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