To be clear, the difference between electronics and other electrical systems is that electronics include active components to control the flow of electricity, whereas non-electronic electrical systems use mechanical switches or relays. The development of the vacuum tube (the first active component invented) allowed for the creation of far more complex systems than was possible with prior technology. Then solid-state transistors allowed electronics to shrink to sizes unthinkable before. Certainly at this point it is trivial to say that electronics are ubiquitous in society today and will only continue to become more so in the coming years, all the way up to the singularity, at which point we will become our own technology. As electronics have developed through the years, they have been given increasingly more important tasks. From air traffic control to car computers to medical equipment to missile defense, systems which include electronics control and protect our lives everyday. Thus it is essential that we know how to maintain them, for which we must also know how they degrade.