A few paragraphs into my first course book after a year of having everything online and I am once again drawn to reflect on the pace, scale and scope of technological advance on the one hand, while people don't change one jot, even to the degree that toppled dictators are shot in the back of the head (scenes my 13 year old son guiltily admitted to following on YouTube without the slightest concern for what my generation would have called a snuff movie and have censored all images, still and moving).
40 years ago: 'No mobile phones, no satellite television, no bio-engineered plants, Cloned animals, Micro-surgery or precision missiles that can hit a ventilation shaft from thousands of miles away'. Henry 2010:13
Just 10 years ago and there is no Facebook nor Google, no YouTube either.
It's getting to the stage when the speed of change is so swift that looking back only 4 years feels like a glimpse of another era without Twitter or iPads. I went from following the Japanese tsunami on various satellite channels, BBC24, CNN the Japanese NHK, to watching it from Smartphone content uploaded to YouTube.
Didn't people once fear that travelling at over 30 mph in a train they would disintegrate ?
Personally I feel that my mind risks disintegration trying to keep up with the rate of change, my mind fed by Zite and Stumbleupon, the spherical probably the latest thing to capture my attention and sustain my interest for longer than a week.
Growing up in the 1970s I often bemoaned the fact, and into the 1980s, that compared to my Grandfather (born 1896, died 1993), that 'not much had happened' OK, I had no desire to wish two world wars on us, but I didn't think colour TV, Stylophones and Space Hoppers were significant (A man or five on the moon was an achievement of course).
By comparison what had 1870-1910 seen?
Age 14 my Grandfather started work as the Office Boy, they had telephones, cars had appeared and were already hogging the roads, Airoplanes were up and Bleriot had crossed the English Channel .There was no QWERTY keyboards, but movies were stretching to a second reel.
The forty year stretch 1910 to 1950 saw the establishment of motor vehicles, Airoplanes and telephones, cinema burgeoned and radio was everywhere with TV in the wings.
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Henry, J (2010) Creativity, cognition and Development. Book 1: 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.
Wikipedia via Google