On the growth of technology (1961 vs. 2011)
So one day I was watching an old movie from the 1960s and I thought in my mind “how little has technology changed”.
Life expectancy in 1961 (in the US): 70
Life expectancy in 2011 (in the US): 78
Technology in 1961: radios, color TV, stereo sound, cameras, elevators, refrigerators, freezers, light bulbs, fluorescent lights, air conditioners, gas/electric/steam cars, commercial jet airliners, washers, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, computers used at banks, computers with display screens, touchscreen video games with sound, skyscrapers, fast food restaurants, vending machines, amusement parks with roller coasters, movie theaters
Technology in 2011: faster computers, digital cameras, more memory, cell phones, GPS, human DNA mapped out, improved graphics
So what’s going on here? How can technology grow so slowly?
The life expectancy in the US has only grown by 8 years…DNA was discovered back in 1953, but for some reason they waited until October 1990 to start the Human Genome Project. Ethernet, desktop computers with keyboard-mouse based GUIs, microprocessors, and most algorithms used today were all well-developed in the 1970s. The technology for GPS and cell phones also existed in the 1970s or earlier. Transportation is nearly the same as it was back in 1961.
The technology we have today is like what you would expect in the 1980s not in the 2010s.
If you don’t use cell phones or computers or GPS then it would be nearly the same as living in the 1960s.
Imagining what things would be like in the 2010s for someone living back in the 1960s would be equivalent to imagining what things would be like in 2060s in modern times (a 50-year difference).
If in the year 2061 the life expectancy is 86 and technology is almost the same except that we have much faster computers I would be disappointed, wouldn’t you?
What a great disappointment the growth of technology has been.