Except invent the internet. And computers. And other stuff. And then give the technology to American businesses to launch entirely new industries. Damn gubmint!
From wikipedia, here’s how it came to be:
ENIAC ( /ˈɛni.æk/; Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was the first general-purpose electronic computer. . . ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army‘s Ballistic Research Laboratory. When ENIAC was announced in 1946 it was heralded in the press as a “Giant Brain”. It boasted speeds one thousand times faster than electro-mechanical machines, a leap in computing power that no single machine has since matched. This mathematical power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists. The inventors promoted the spread of these new ideas by teaching a series of lectures on computer architecture.
The ENIAC’s design and construction was financed by the United States Army during World War II. The construction contract was signed on June 5, 1943, and work on the computer began in secret by the University of Pennsylvania‘s Moore School of Electrical Engineering starting the following month under the code name “Project PX”. The completed machine was announced to the public the evening of February 14, 1946 and formally dedicated the next day at the University of Pennsylvania, having cost almost $500,000 (nearly $6 million in 2010, adjusted for inflation).
Like so much Research & Development, it was financed with taxpayer dollars. We used to think that was a good way to spend money.