Did video games cause the largest increase in technology?

We sent a spaceship to the moon in an aluminum box powered by a computer less powerful than a cell phone. Why would we need to create anything more than this? Most of the tasks we do on a day to day basis can be done without the devices we have. Spreadsheets, email and simple searching don’t require rendering, yet we have processors ten thousand times stronger than what we need. However, these processors are put to the test in gaming. Most modern games will use 90-100% of the power of the strongest processors if we let them. Meaning that if processor developers want to sell more they just need to make stronger processors handle crazier games.

In fact, there was a while where the gaming specific devices were more efficient than anything we had. The PlayStation 3 at release was so efficient that the Air Force and the Department of Defense commissioned supercomputers made of Playstations. The Airforce bought 1760 PlayStation 3 systems and put them together to create the supercomputer they named “the Condor”. The Department of Defense purchased 2200 to make a supercomputer as well, but unfortunately, they didn’t come up with any cool name for it like “the Condor.”

If video games create the largest push for technological advancements why is that good for everyone? Well the stronger the systems, the faster all of our tasks are. These new processors can do over a thousand tasks in under a second. There is also a science side of this that is imported. We can solve previously unsolvable problems by running questions through programs that can do calculations. The more processing power, the more tests it can run, or calculations it can test. There is a program called “Folding at Home” that you can share your processing power to an organization that is using a program to test possible cures to diseases like cancer. Because everyone computers are becoming more and more powerful, these are becoming a possibility. In fact, a professor, “Vijay Pande,” who used the information gained from “Folding at Home” to create an amino acid that can be adjusted to eating certain cells. Currently, he has created one that eats e.coli in living animals and he thinks this is the fastest path to cure cancer.

The gaming industry is a $100 billion industry rivaling the snack industry in terms of value. It is arguably one of the most important industries because it doesn’t just bring in a ton of jobs for the economy but it is speeding up the advancement of many industries because of its impact on technology.


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