With new technology breakthroughs coming out on what seems to be a daily basis, the question arises: Is everything really getting better? I mean, the way my phone acts now doesn't seem too amazing.
Obviously technology from movies isn't a good measure of technological success in a generation, and there isn't a clear, universal measure of technological advancement, but a vast improvement of our gadgets is clear, and a little bit mind blowing. For example, the computer that guided the Apollo mission had about 0.000064% the memory of an iPhone 6. Whether you have an iPhone 6 or not, your phone is, in many ways, more powerful than the computers that sent astronauts to the moon. And yet it takes 5 minutes to send that Snapchat. Crazy, right?
Another measure of technological success is the entertainment industry. From video games to movies, almost all facets of the game have been improved.
Picture quality from video games are nothing but improving. Not only are CGI (Computer generated images) improving on video games, but they are improving in movies as well. For example, compare a movie like Interstellar to a classic like Jaws that came out in 1975. Jaws made hundreds of million dollars, and is said to have scared a generation out of the ocean. I saw this movie recently, and to be honest, it wasn’t even a little scary. The shark was just too unrealistic. As someone born in 1999, the special effects from back then are almost laughable. Comparing this to Interstellar, with its amazing special effects using the most modern technology almost isn’t fair. That’s because it isn’t. Jaws Came out forty years ago.
The special effects used in Jaws were extremely modern and top of the line, and people weren’t used to that. Although the model shark wasn’t very lifelike, it was better than anything else at the time. In forty years from now, the amazing graphics in movies like Interstellar will share the same fate.
This is what technology does. It replaces the old with a shinier, faster, better alternative. I’m not saying VCRs or flip phones don’t work, but they are going extinct, simply because they are less convenient, efficient, and powerful than the next generation of technology. The same will go for paper books, paper magazines, CDs, paper cigarettes, and much more.
In my opinion, what is more interesting than how technology has improved is where it will go. Self-driving car’s are going to be in the market soon, and the technology is already here. They don’t have to be perfect, just better than humans, and they already are. (Think Google Map’s automated cars) Radical changes are happening to almost every industry, and more and more of life is going to be automated.
Is this new technology a bad thing? Well, new gadgets will take some jobs, (The transportation industry won’t need truckers if cars are automated, robots are already working in agriculture, just to name a few examples) but those are jobs we don’t want people doing. The less demand there is for human manual labor, the more people will be working white-collar jobs, leading to a more educated, productive society.
Jakob Saloner is a Staff Writer for Pulse Magazine.