Re: Rate of change (was Re: 'a process of non-thinking called faith')

From: Kevin Osborne (
Date: Wed Feb 15 2006 - 19:49:48 MST

> Compare 1970 to 2006 - that's a 36-year timespan.
> Then compare 1934 to 1970, or 1888 to 1934,
> or 1852 to 1888, or 1816 to 1852, or 1780 to 1816,
> or 1744 to 1780, or 1708 to 1744, or 1672 to 1708 -
> I don't think that anyone with any knowledge of any
> one of those time periods could say anything but
> that the technological, epistemological, and cultural
> change during them - in Western society - was
> greater than during the period 1970-2006.

not to disgaree outright, and without postulating any kind detailed
analysis, but there does seem to have been a fair whack of
'technological, epistemological, and cultural change' in last 36

To go on anecdotal terms for a third of that timespan, the 12 years up
until now since I graduated high school have seen a fair few changes:

The Internet, 94-2005. Not arpanet or bbs's, but
usenet->www->im/p2p/web2.0. The current usage exceeds one billion
citizens - i.e a 6th of world's population (from: another good page: From thousands to over a billion users in 12
years is a fairly hefty technological+cultural shift, I would think.

Microsoft, 94-2005. We went from a few PC's in some offices at the
beginning of 94 to a PC on every desk in every office by the end of
05. from 3.1, to 95, to 98, and now XP. The addition of a personal
computer to the effective intelligence of these users is a huge leap,
especially for the solitaire|myspace|msoffice-level of user population
who in previous eras had far less input into the realms of culture,
media and technology. For more tech/culture love think of the
cellphones, PDAs, laptops, digital cameras, 3D video cards, iPods of
today vs. the end of 93...

Science,Engineering,Nanotech, 94-2005. I'm not a super science geek,
just a tech nerd, so I can't give an even near fair accout of this
realm, but here's a few: X-Prize. Mars rovers. Carbon composite,
Kevlar, Polymers. 45nm chip fab processes. Synthetics - drugs, sugar,
textiles. Hubble, Cosmological imaging advances and theory changes.
Climate modelling. Ever taller towers - Petronas, 101 etc. Huge
infrastructure projects, especially in Asia. Buckytubes. The latest
triumph sports bike. The stealth fighters/bombers.

Medicine,Biotech 94-2005. Again, I'm far from an expert: Researchers
capturing video from cat's brains. Human genome. Cloning. Biotech.
Cancer cures. Brain imaging. Transplant advances. everything as
keyhole surgery. RNA interference. Gene therapies. Quadraplegics
controlling mice via in-brain chips. plastic surgery. drugs for
everything - the brain enchancing drugs are a great example

Culture, 94-2005. I probably can't come even close to capturing this,
but here goes. I'm a drum'n'bass nut. Do you guys have any idea of the
number of techno genres? From garage to darkstep to happy hardcore to
trance and dozens in between. Mashups. Raves. Ecstasy and marijuana
use - the amount of young people off their face every weekend in
western cities is truly staggering. Group teenage sex. Piercing,
branding, implanting. Guerilla art (e.g. banksy). Blogging. Stay at
home dads. Metrosexuals. Same sex marriage. Neoconservatism. Islamic
fanaticism. Steroids. Reality TV. Celebrity porn (e.g. Pam,Paris)

there's got to be a host more of these kinds of examples in all sorts
of arenas, and not to say in any way that some of these things didn't
exist prior to 94; but their manifestation now is a very different
animal. The pace of change doesn't seem to be slowing down as much as
going down different pathways. The lack of manned moon/space missions
may annoy space opera aficionados (trekkies) but the fact is they're
pointless in the short term and we should have always been sending
machines. But when I think of the life, technology use and culture of
a 13 year old girl in 70's versus one of today, I think maybe that her
world has definitely moved forward, even in Captain Kirk is still as
much a fanstasy now as he was then...

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