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Four technologies have had what I would call a dominant and immediate influence on humanity.
Telephone: superceding the telegraph, but the telephone was rapidly ubiquitous for a technology of its time and allowed peopme to communicate with the spoken word. Telephones literally shrank the Earth.
Radio: one way for most purposes, hut it provided nearly instant dissemination of information across a population, and the idea of using a communication media for entertainment. Because of wartime these caught on fast.
Television superceded radio and became important and ubiquitous but I don’t really consider it revolutionary. It made the world both closer and far away. An American child in Kansas could recognize a french accent.
Email: What, I hear? No internet? Nope. For every page view after the internet was pretty well stabilized there were tens of thousands of emails. The tide hasnt noticably slowed since then, even as messaging has diversified and most of us have arms reach access to a phone 24/7. Email made the world go round. It helped cement the computer into the office, and profoundly affected almost everyone on Earth, personally.
Social Media: For all the stupid stuff we do with it social media has done more to advance us as a species than anything else we’ve done except burning oil and splitting the atom, and the juries still out on the atom. We’ve collected the sum of human knowledge, created infinite bridges to know each other better, understand each other, and sometimes even hate each other. If humanity grows past our current turmoils future generations will no longer have to look back through the lens of the victor, they’ll be able to see what millions of people thought, felt, and said about aspects of their daily lives.
Whatever the next one is, my bet is that it will have something to do with allowing people to understand, communicate and share knowledge.
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