Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Experience of our Species – Part II

Ever marvel at the things we humans can do, or the crazy inventions we come up with? Well, I do, and I feel like sharing that wonder with you. This is the second part of that journey.


Where are we today? Just think about it, with all the technology we have, what amazing things can we do?  Take any invention or innovation that you use on a day-to-day basis and ask yourself these questions: “What would I have thought of this 10 years ago?” “What would I have thought of this 20 years ago?” “What would someone from 100 years ago think about this?” “What would someone from 1000 years ago think about this?” If this doesn’t make you realize just how great everything we have is, then you should probably go back over those questions and think long and hard about the first answer you came up with.

The most obvious of these items are the ‘simple’, high-tech gadgets, like the any cell phone, mp3 player, netbook/laptop PC, any remote-controlled system, etc. When some of these things are released today, people are still awed, but that’s not all there is to be amazed by. How about other, larger technology, like hospital diagnostic equipment, manufacturing robots, automobiles (and the gadgets that come with them), wind power turbines? The list goes on and on. There’s intangibles like the internet, video conferencing, streaming music, and much, much more.

If you take apart any of these devices (those that can be disassembled), chances are, you won’t be able to explain how any of it works. It’s not magic, but for most, it might as well be, and we use these things every single day! Let’s say some great inventor - Thomas Edison, for example - was around today to see all this. He’d be flabbergasted! Heck, even Jesus of all people wouldn’t know what to do with himself. If you brought your technology back in time any historic or ancient civilization, you may even lose your head over the heresy/black magic/whatever other superstition was prevalent at the time.

Despite all this, people still take everything they have for granted, which is not necessarily a bad thing. People want the newest and best things, and that development would be slowed by the irrational fear of the trickery behind the technology. Instead, people don’t care how something works, just if it works, and even then, they’re never satisfied. Even the amazing things they see everyday break down from time to time, or else just don’t work the way they should. In response, those people demand better, and they’re willing to pay for it.

This consumer drive is where tomorrow comes in. There are more advances every decade than there were in the decade prior. There are more advances every year than there were in the year prior. There are more advances every day than there were in the day prior. You get the idea…As we progress more and more, the rate of improvement increases. That’s what the third and final installment will be about, so keep an eye out!

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