Wednesday, 16 November 2011

We've come so far...

I was watching Friends today, which I am ashamed to say I do too much. Series Two, first broadcast in 1995 I believe was the one I was watching, and I couldn't help but laugh at the opening line after the credits of Chandler boasting about his new high-tech laptop computer:

"All right, check out this bad boy.", he says in a proud and gloating manner, "12 megabytes of ram. 500 megabyte hard drive. Built-in spreadsheet capabilities and a modem that transmits at over 28,000 b.p.s."

Now you don't have to be a computer-whizz to see that if someone came and boasted about that today, you'd think they had something wrong with them. Were computers ever like that?? When you consider that that was sixteen years ago, while it may seem not so very long ago for us, I can guarantee the older generations will think differently and maintain that sixteen years is not such a very long time at all. I remain as ever baffled by the speed at which our technology is improving.

I remember not so long ago when I got my first mp3 player, holding about 17 songs. And that was only maybe seven years ago when I think about it. Now we have ipods that can hold an insane amount of tunes, more than your battery power can even last for. And it isn't just memory, it is all of our technology. For my Twenty-first birthday two weeks ago, one of the things my mother gave me was an original paper from the day I was born. Seeing a cassette player on sale for about ninety quid certainly made me chuckle! But again: I'm not really very old!

My theory is that the technology of today is going through a phase of rapid expansion. In history, there's the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution... Are we currently in the middle of the technological revolution? Computer revolution? I don't know quite what to call it, but when it is the title of a chapter in the history textbooks of the future, then we'll know.

1 comment:

  1. Amy's post reminded me of an Xkcd:

    I was thinking about this sort of thing the other day. I hate it when people are glued to their mobiles all day long, but I can't imagine life before them. To meet up with anyone would have to agree a time and a date beforehand, with no room for error. If I'm running a few minutes late/early there was no way to let the other know. As someone who is never on time would be constantly running the risk of having my meetings cancelled, my friends slinking off home frustrated.

    Obviously people managed to meet up before mobile phones became widely used, and the modern equivillent would be social networking sites. People my sister's age (5 year younger) have trouble imagining an age before there was a 'safe' place on the internet to post up photos of yourself, talk instantly to each other, and adress whole swathes of 'friends' at the click of a button.

    What I think this shows is that not only does this new technology advance astonishing quickly, but that we get used to them shockingly quickly, and find it hard to even conceive of a time before. I barely remember pre-broadband days, let alone before we had a computer.


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