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When cell phones with buttons and 20-kilo computers arouse nostalgic feelings

Hardly anything becomes obsolete as quickly as digital technology.

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When cell phones with buttons and 20-kilo computers arouse nostalgic feelings

Hardly anything becomes obsolete as quickly as digital technology. Even a Nokia button cell phone can arouse nostalgic feelings. The new exhibition "

With more than 400 objects, photos and interactive media stations, the Museum for the History of the Federal Republic sheds light on the far-reaching effects of digitization. The oldest exhibits include a replica of the "world's first computer", which was destroyed in the war and built by the engineer and inventor Konrad Zuse in 1941, and the original manuscript for a calculating machine from 1701. The polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz used it to explain his binary number system, the theoretical basis for later digitization.

The Commodore PET, which weighs almost 20 kilograms and was presented at the Hanover Fair in 1978, is a must, as is Super Mario, the hero of the Nintendo video game series. The visitor can marvel at the first digital collection bag for contactless donations in the church and look into the cleavage of the sex doll "Harmony". Your reaction behavior can be programmed by the user according to his personal preferences.

The mobile phone that Angela Merkel used as CDU opposition leader until 2005 is on display under glass like a treasure. Even then she was bugged by the US secret service. "One of the significant features of Angela Merkel's chancellorship was communication via SMS," says museum director Harald Biermann. “That was a significant instrument of domination. That wasn't the case with Gerhard Schröder before, and that wasn't the case with Helmut Kohl. Nothing has come out of Olaf Scholz yet, so we'll have to wait and see."

Slightly older visitors may find that science fiction has become reality in their lifetime. Fans of the cartoon series "Captain Future", which was shown on ZDF from 1980, remember the "flying brain" of the long-dead Professor Simon Wright, which flew in a special container on the spaceship.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst actually had something similar with him on his space missions: the astronaut assistant "Cimon", based on artificial intelligence (AI). He wasn't quite as smart as Simon Wright, but he was able to help the astronauts with measurements and sing something. A very everyday example of AI is a profane vacuum robot, which is also on display.

However, the show also reminds us that the beginnings of digitization were met with great skepticism, especially in Germany. In 1979, the DGB distributed a poster on which a microprocessor could be seen between two women's fingers under the heading "Small causes - big effect".

"This is what a job killer looks like," it said. And further: “People play down the term “technical progress”. In plain language, that means nothing other than: Thousands of jobs are being rationalized away.” Looking back, it is downright touching that people still had the idea that if they really wanted to, they could stop the development.

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