When you think about what the worst and the best invention of all time is, what is the first thing that pops into your head ?
Most people will say something along the lines of nuclear energy – which has fantastic uses as a source of energy or in medicine or many other fields, but on the other hand, when used as a weapon, can cause horrible destruction. Or maybe explosives, which can be used for mining, but are most frequently used in a variety of weapons - a part of countless tools for destruction and suffering. Or maybe genetic engineering, which can cure diseases and disorders and has tremendous potential to save lives and improve our abilities, but on the other hand can create havoc by altering our food and introducing deadly viruses.
No, none of these; what I have in mind has much a simpler function.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you:
No, that is not a mistake. A switch is the thing you can find in different forms everywhere and in almost everything we have created. The switch exists in so many forms that it looks like it is not there at all, but actually it is behind everything in our world.
The switch is the difference between on and off, between light and darkness, between having water or not, writing a letter on your screen or not. The switch is there behind every driving vehicle, behind every money transaction, behind the food we grow or prepare, and switch is behind ever computer calculation that is ever made and many, many other things.
But ... the switch is also behind every possible weapon.
You already know all the benefits of the switch and I will not waste my words explaining how the switch is good for you, and I also will not try to blame anyone for anything. I just want to point how amazingly odd the following realization is.
Please, take some time to imagine any weapon you can; imagine all its details if you can, or at least the abstraction behind it. Take any gun, rifle, bullet, bomb, rocket, A-Bomb, the most powerful weapon you can choose—thus my point will be stronger.
I will imagine a hydrogen bomb, the horrifying power of 10 megatons of TNT in the size of an average sport utility vehicle, capable of destroying an entire mid-size city. Inside of it, there is tremendous complexity: an explosive has to trigger a small primary nuclear fission A-bomb that will then trigger a secondary nuclear fusion chain reaction, and that will release the power of the H-bomb. What I’ve just said is a basic concept; behind that concept there is a lot of electronics and lot of carful engineering in order to make this process work.
So there you go, you have great complexity that needed thousands and thousands of man hours in order to acquire that knowledge, and the other thousands and thousands of man hours in order to build that incredibly powerful and destructive device.
So then at the end, in order to release that almost unimaginable power, you just need to...
Press a simple switch, a button. A fricking button!
By now you probably know that even a baby, not just a human baby but the baby of a monkey or any other animal can do same thing. Even an insect, if large enough, can press a button.
I know, I know, you can start complaining that there are protocols and policies, and that it is not so easy to launch a nuclear weapon.
Please think again, what I am talking about is the concept in which — the smartest people in the world have given the most powerful thing in the world to some other not-so-clever people to “play” with it, handle it, and threaten other people with it.
And that is not the only invention that follows this same principle.
Imagine you are parent; would you give a jar of nitro-glycerine to your child to play with?
I will leave you with that thought for now.