Wednesday, November 03, 2010

This isn't going to be so true anymore... least I don't think so:

You, too, will reach a point when a new gizmo seems impossible to use.

 I could be wrong, but I don't think I am, considering the technological innovations we've seen in the last century. It's probably safe to say that previous generations either didn't really know what their progeny would be capable of or didn't think new inventions would make that much sense, and Froma Harrop tacitly acknowledges as much here. But with the newer technology comes a different mindset. Consider this:
This is the best way I could think to illustrate what I'm about to talk about here. (It's not a perfect illustration, I know, but I think it gets the job done.) The x-axis is the horizontal axis, while the y-axis is the vertical. Let's say the horizontal axis here represents a timeline, and the vertical axis represents technological perfection (defined as the most gadgets that do the most stuff, maybe). The y-values on the graph represent the number of new whizbang gadgets. The red line that denotes the function represents society's march towards technological perfection. As the years go on, you see us getting ever closer to technological perfection, but never actually getting there. I don't know where we'd be on the curve here, but I think it's safe to say we're at least very close to the point at which the red line starts going vertical as opposed to earlier generations when the line was still horizontal (that is, when there weren't all those new and exciting widgets). With the curve in the middle comes the realization of what this generation and the succeeding generations will be capable of.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: We know what we're capable of. And I think it's safe to say that there won't be as many things that we won't be able to figure out as we think there might be. Back in the Depression a robotic car that drove itself seemed like a fantasy, but then the same could be said for laptop computers, the Internet and mp3 players. I really don't think we'll believe as our forebears did, that *fill-in-the-blank* is technologically infeasible. We know what we're capable of. And I think we'll adjust our mindsets accordingly to be able to take advantage of it. Thoughts? Borepatch? I was  channeling you here somewhat...