As I sat in the back seat of my UBER the other day looking at the smartphone the driver was using to find my destination, I could not help but wonder at all of the changes that have occurred in the world during the past 45 years.
I remember hosting a group of people to watch the 6th game of the 1975 world series and all of the oohing and aahing over our new 25 inch Magnavox color TV set. I remember my friend Ralph walking up to it and exclaiming, “Man this is like being at the drive in!” And then think today where most of us have at least 40 if not 50 or even 70 inch TV’s in our house.
I remember as a kid watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, or a few years later watching Neal Armstrong walk on the moon or watching the current TV shows with an overriding sense that this was the last time I would see these things. Remember that? Oh we might have reruns, but we did not have the internet, streaming or YouTube, so we just assumed that most things we were watching we would never see again.
I remember first becoming aware of Google and then YouTube. In fact, one night my son in law Pat and I, after having a few, went on a three hour YouTube binge (don’t tell me you haven’t done that!) The night was filled with:
“Hey, let’s find the Beatles on Ed Sullivan!” It was there.
“How about Dylan going electric at Newport?” It was there.
“How about Janis at Altamont?” It was there.
“How about the Ali-Liston fight in Lewiston, Maine? It was there.
It went on like that to the point where we thought they might have everything that had ever happened in the world…”Maybe they have the last supper!”Oof course that was not there, and it was time to go to bed.
Okay that was fun, but let’s get to the point. There is more knowledge and information at our fingertips today than at any other time in the history of the world. People talk about the golden age of television. This is the golden age of television simply because we can watch whatever the previous golden age of television was.
We can watch anything we want at any time we want. Years ago, I read Alvin Toffler’s books Future Shock, The Third Wave, and Power Shift, and John Naisbitt’s Megatrends, and Faith Popcorn’s The Popcorn Report over 30 years ago and being amazed at what 2020 would look like and now if you reread them, you will be amazed at how much they got right!
Popcorn and Naisbitt, both talked about a time when people would watch TV shows when they wanted to watch them for example. They talked about people shopping and buying from the comfort of their own living rooms! Imagine that!
If someone had told me 25 years ago that I could find just about any book I wanted to buy and read, even the 1928 version of the Hardy Boys’ The House on the Cliff, and that on a site called E-Bay I would be able to buy a copy of the exact same book I had bought at Berry Paper’s in Lewiston, Maine in 1964!
I have purposely used more common cultural examples of how the world we live in today is so different than the world we grew up in because that’s what most of us can identify with.
But let’s not forget our current world of electric vehicles, of modern space travel where instead of a space race between nations we are witnessing a space race between Billionaires! (sorry about the plethora of exclamation points but these are all exclamation point worthy developments.)
One of our comedians (I won’t mention his name because everyone hates him now and it’s not the Jell-O salesman) once said about how quickly blasé we all get. We are a mile up at 600 miles an hour coast to coast in a metal tube, going from New York to L.A. in five hours and all we can talk about is how few peanuts there are in the bag they give us with a plastic cup of Coke Zero! Despite his peculiar proclivities he had it right.
Now if you are flying coast to coast and all you can talk about is a bag of peanuts, maybe it’s time you look into the near future, the future that is just upon us, just around the corner and read the new book The Future is Faster than You Think: How Converging Technologies are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives By Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. And discover that we do have flying cars, cabs carrying four people actually right now. They are called eVTOLs for electric take-off and landing vehicles. That we do have a high speed travel tunnel in the works right now. That we do have computers that are building themselves faster than any human can do it. That we do have autonomous trucks hauling freight, that is happening as we speak. And how about AI (artificial intelligence)? Google’s Talk to Books lets you ask a question on any subject and responds by reading 120,000 books in half a second to provide you the right answer! Hey human, how are you going to compete with that?
And those things represent just a very sampling of what you can find in that book. Still want to focus on that bag of peanuts? It’s only common sense.