Does Anyone Ever Stop and Realize What an Amazing Time We Live In? This Is the Future

MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
3,710
1,098
NJ
Ah, how our lives would be so totally different if we were not able to mass produce silicone chip designs. It is seriously incredible that a company can produce tens of millions of the same product and have 99%+ of production be practically the same. With the complexity of the design and parts in a modern computer or phone, the prices are even more incredible. If these had to be hand-made and we never developed mass production factories, then it's likely inferior products would cost millions of dollars.

It is also incredible I can type this and a thousand people will eventually read this post, all instantaneously. We can pull up a video and watch it in incredible clarity. 4K is practically real-life mirrored in front of you but even sharper and more colorful. Movies could not have existed just a few dozen years ago. Hell, it's amazing a company can produce a 200-million-dollar movie and be profitable. But now we have so much more: episodic TV shows that are basically quality hundred-hour movies, video games that should be strikingly lifelike within 15 years, etc. etc. With technology such as self-driving cars in the pipeline, we are living the transition to the future people have been anticipating for hundreds of years right now.

If we really take a second to appreciate the design and mass production intricacy + the infrastructure necessary to provide content that goes into making the tech future possible for everyone, it is absolutely insane how far we have come. If somebody described a tablet to you even fifty years ago and how hundreds of millions will be sold within a few years and asked you to bet whether such a device will exist, you would have probably betted against it.

Hell, it's even incredible how a house is in reach of the majority. Architecture has surpassed expectations of what it was expected be like hundreds of years from now.

There are countless more examples: medicine, food, etc. etc. etc. We can walk to a supermarket and buy a banana for a measly $.50. I'd even venture to say it's incredible that fruit, meat, etc. can be packaged and affordably sold. You can purchase practically whatever food you want and not pay an arm-and-a-leg.

Should stop and realize how incredible it is that this is all possible in our lifetime. We are living the future people anticipated for hundreds of years; possibly an even better one.
 
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Felasco

Guest
Oct 19, 2012
372
2
Should stop and realize how incredible it is that this is all possible in our lifetime. We are living the future people anticipated for hundreds of years; possibly an even better one.
Great post, your wonder and appreciation is applauded.

I sense we've yet to begin to grasp the changes silicon chips will bring to human life. Imho, the jury is still very much out on whether the net impact will be net positive or negative.

But, whatever the case, we are going there to find out and it's rational to enjoy the ride, given that we really have little choice in the matter.
 

TechGod

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2014
3,171
871
New Zealand
I agree, despite many complaining about issues, human rights are advancing and so is tech. This is a great time to live in.
 

The Doctor11

macrumors 603
Dec 15, 2013
5,923
1,334
New York
We do live in an amazing time... And this is the future. Remember when Steve Jobs Announced the iPhone 4. When he was talking about face time he said he always dreamed of video calls. But we also are living in the past. I wonder what the world will be like when people look back at this time 100 years from now and say wow those poor people had nothing. Lol.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,390
33,009
Boston
There' s two aspect, one is the technical achievements that are incredibly amazing, the technology that we are experiencing is awe inspiring but then there's also the quality of life.

Much of the technology has not really improved life, but in some cases made it harder. Many of us no longer just leave work and be done with it. We get called, emailed an paged on our smart phones. There's an expectation to do work at night or at home, or even while we commute.

I'd not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but point out while its been great to see these technological advances, it has come at a price.

I've had to log into work at 11:00pm to resolve a problem, and right now before 6:00am (my time) need to execute certain tasks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-technology but I do realize technology is not the panacea that people thought it could be.
 

Frisco

macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2002
2,475
69
Utopia
I'd prefer to live in the 50s or 60s when things were simpler. Advances in medical technology have driven up the cost of health care and contributed to overpopulation. I don't need to live into my 90s taking tons of medicine. I enjoy and live for the moment. It's not important to me how long I live--it's the quality of the years that matter to me.

I miss the days of vinyl and the cars of the 50s and 60s. They don't make them like that anymore. I have a cell phone, but when I go out I often leave it at home. I don't need to be in constant communication with others. I enjoy my space. I feel more freedom with my cell phone home.

I enjoy my privacy--I don't want the World to know what I am doing 24/7. I don't seek nor do I desire fame or fortune. Watching a waterfall makes me happy, not the latest gadget.

"The Little Things...there's nothing bigger"
---Vanilla Sky.
 

Felasco

Guest
Oct 19, 2012
372
2
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-technology but I do realize technology is not the panacea that people thought it could be.
Yes, that's a good way to put it.

Technology is a tool which gives us additional power. To me, the central question is, how much power can we handle?

Would we give car keys, a case of scotch, and a loaded handgun to a ten year old? Of course not, because we recognize that would create a dangerous imbalance between power and wisdom.

And yet, we are giving ourselves new powers as fast as we possibly can, apparently upon the premise that our wisdom is unlimited and can accommodate any level of new power applied at any rate. Um, there's little in thousands of years of human history to suggest such a premise is true.

When put that way, our open ended quest for power sounds pretty absurd, doesn't it? That's because it is absurd. The fact that we think this way reveals us to be the ten year old with limited wisdom.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
50,809
34,329
The Far Horizon
Great thread and great opening post, OP.

While I am in awe of much that has been invented and made available over the last century, or even in the course of my life, I also try to ensure that I use it and rule it, rather than the other way around.

Granted, the revolutionary impact of internet technology has transformed my life and the lives of many others, beyond all recognition, since I was an undergrad, never mind since my birth. I love the accessibility of vast volumes of information; I love being able to inform myself of what is happening, and I love the fact that boundaries set by older more traditional societies are questioned by this revolution in technology and access to information.

As a woman, and a woman who has been able to have access to the best of educational opportunities that the First World can offer, I can honestly say that while things are not yet ideal, they are a lot better for women than they ever were in any of recorded history to date, and I am grateful for that.

However, given how much we have achieved, and how much we glory - rightly in the extraordinary effects of the information revolution (a revolution every bit as transformational and historically important to my mind, as the Industrial and political revolutions which came from the US and France - and which so defined our world for the 19th and 20th centuries in our world), we would do well to bear in mind that the benefits of these revolutions are not felt equally across the globe, and may not be seen in terms of bringing benefits.

Instead, in some cases, such transformations have served to hasten inequality, both structural inequality and subsequently reinforced inequality and deepen poverty.

On a more personal level, in the First World, maflynn in his post makes a very good point about the erosion of the private space and the expectation of constant availability. This is an area where individuals need to reclaim their personal autonomy and space and time, especially downtime from a work environment. Just because you can be contacted at any time, does not mean that you ought to be contacted, ever, not unless there is a real emergency. Off time is off time, and to me, that is a sacred thing, and quite inviolable.
 
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SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,072
9,261
Detroit
On a more personal level, in the First World, maflynn in his post makes a very good point about the erosion of the private space and the expectation of constant availability. This is an area where individuals need to reclaim their personal autonomy and space and time, especially downtime from a work environment. Just because you can be contacted at any time, does not mean that you ought to be contacted, ever, not unless there is a real emergency. Off time is off time, and to me, that is a sacred thing, and quite inviolable.
I couldn't agree with you more on this point. My job requires me to be on call 24/7 and I've been doing it for the last 8 years (12 years total at the same agency). I don't particularly like it and when my phone rings, when I'm on my off-time, I get an instant dose of stress in anticipation of what problem there is that requires my attention outside of the office.

Just as coincidence would have it, I received one of those calls at 2am today. It wasn't anything major, but it caused me to lose an hour of sleep right in the middle of the night.

I value my off time, autonomy and solitude very much and I look forward to a day when I don't have to be on call all the time.
 

Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,931
1,606
New England, USA
There' s two aspect, one is the technical achievements that are incredibly amazing, the technology that we are experiencing is awe inspiring but then there's also the quality of life.

Much of the technology has not really improved life, but in some cases made it harder. Many of us no longer just leave work and be done with it. We get called, emailed an paged on our smart phones. There's an expectation to do work at night or at home, or even while we commute.

I'd not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but point out while its been great to see these technological advances, it has come at a price.

I've had to log into work at 11:00pm to resolve a problem, and right now before 6:00am (my time) need to execute certain tasks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-technology but I do realize technology is not the panacea that people thought it could be.
Great thread and great opening post, OP.

While I am in awe of much that has been invented and made available over the last century, or even in the course of my life, I also try to ensure that I use it and rile it, rater than the other way around.

Granted, the revolutionary impact of internet technology has transformed my life and the lives of many others, beyond all recognition, since I was an undergrad, never mind since my birth. I love the accessibility of vast volumes of information; I love being able to inform myself of what is happening, and I love the fact that boundaries set by older more traditional societies are questioned by this revolution in technology and access to information.

As a woman, and a woman who has been able to have access to the best of educational opportunities that the First World can offer, I can honestly say that while things are not yet ideal, they are a lot better for women than they ever were in any of recorded history to date, and I am grateful for that.

However, given how much we have achieved, and how much we glory - rightly in the extraordinary effects of the information revolution (a revolution every bit as transformational and historically important to my mind, as the Industrial and political revolutions which came from the US and France - and which so defined our world for the 19th and 20th centuries in our world), we would do well to bear in mind that the benefits of these revolutions are not felt equally across the globe, and may not be seen in terms of bringing benefits.

Instead, in some cases, such transformations have served to hasten inequality, both structural inequality and subsequently reinforced inequality and deepen poverty.

On a more personal level, in the First World, maflynn in his post makes a very good point about the erosion of the private space and the expectation of constant availability. This is an area where individuals need to reclaim their personal autonomy and space and time, especially downtime from a work environment. Just because you can be contacted at any time, does not mean that you ought to be contacted, ever, not unless there is a real emergency. Off time is off time, and to me, that is a sacred thing, and quite inviolable.
Thanks, both, for your wonderful posts. They express my feelings better than I could.:D
 

Felasco

Guest
Oct 19, 2012
372
2
An example of how confusing and problematic advancing technology might be...

We are here on MacRumors because the people in our real world life don't wish to discuss Apple to the degree we do. We are using technology to enhance our control of our social experience.

We are willing to sacrifice a great deal of what makes humans human in order to obtain that control. I don't know your name, can't see your face, don't know your gender, your age, what you're wearing, the tone of your voice and so on. I've given all that up in order to get what I want, lots of Apple talk.

The next logical step is that human posters will be replaced by software based forum members, because we will be able to customize our experience with software posters to a degree impossible with human posters. With human posters we have to compromise, be polite, follow the forum rules, not always be the focus of attention and so on.

With software members, we can have exactly any experience we want to have. In my case, all forum members will become gorgeous redheads who find me absolutely fascinating, a service the current human members stubbornly and rudely refuse to provide. :)

So, technology will allow us to customize our "social" experience to an unprecedented amazing degree, and the price tag will be that we turn our backs on each other. It's happening already, right now, right here. Technology is a double edged sword folks.
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,670
28
located
We can walk to a supermarket and buy a banana for a measly $.50. I'd even venture to say it's incredible that fruit, meat, etc. can be packaged and affordably sold. You can purchase practically whatever food you want and not pay an arm-and-a-leg.
But for what price? Have you seen the meat factories, where more than a 1000 pigs per hour get killed to satisfy those prices? And to be honest, the killing part was the most peaceful or "humane" part of their life.
I was in a factory recently, where 6000 people worked their life of, mostly Eastern Europeans, since they are cheaper, to produce 3.300 tonnes of meat every day. It was a big factory, one of the biggest and most modern in Europe, but there are countless more of them.
I also was able to saw how vegetables were produced and transported en masse. Again, cheap labour mostly.


While it is nice, what comfort and luxury we have accomplished, it is still astounding how many people have to be paid less in order to get us that luxury.

Sorry if I derailed your thread, as the rest of your OP is something I agree with to a point, since too much technology might not help us evolve our psyche.
 

mariefuller

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2014
26
0
But for what price? Have you seen the meat factories, where more than a 1000 pigs per hour get killed to satisfy those prices? And to be honest, the killing part was the most peaceful or "humane" part of their life.
I was in a factory recently, where 6000 people worked their life of, mostly Eastern Europeans, since they are cheaper, to produce 3.300 tonnes of meat every day. It was a big factory, one of the biggest and most modern in Europe, but there are countless more of them.
I also was able to saw how vegetables were produced and transported en masse. Again, cheap labour mostly.


While it is nice, what comfort and luxury we have accomplished, it is still astounding how many people have to be paid less in order to get us that luxury.

Sorry if I derailed your thread, as the rest of your OP is something I agree with to a point, since too much technology might not help us evolve our psyche.
Every single action and happening of the past is a direct equation that yields the present moment. I am eternally grateful for all of the sacrifices that mankind has undergone so that I can live where I am, and as comfortably as I can. I'm sorry about your complaint of the cheap labor. I really am. But I know for certain that if the United States government had no minimum wage (like the poor countries that produce the goods) we too could manufacture these products. The only reason why everything is produces overseas is because it is too expensive here (because of minimum wages).

Perhaps instead of ruining people's appreciation of modern miracles, if you feel strongly about it, why not try to get the factory jobs back in the USA, and get rid of minimum wage? If I was a producer, I would certainly love to pay Americans to do labor, but unfortunately, that is an overhead cost that cannot be dismissed.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,154
1,322
Always a day away
Many of us no longer just leave work and be done with it. We get called, emailed an paged on our smart phones. There's an expectation to do work at night or at home, or even while we commute.

I'd not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but point out while its been great to see these technological advances, it has come at a price.
And we have all experienced rewards as a result of this price.

These technological advances are why people are able to be more productive than ever. Have you ever wondered why a microwave oven sold for about $600 in the 1970's but could be had for $39 today? Or why back in the day a workhorse 8088 computer cost thousands of dollars and had only a tiny fraction of the computing power a smartphone (costing mere hundreds) has today? It's because of technology.

You seem to be focusing on what you see as the "bad" side of technological advances, namely that people are able to do more than they used to - and yes, this means getting more work done. But we're all reaping those benefits. I'm an engineer, and when I started in this business we still drafted plans on paper. It was a painstaking process, and revisions were rare since they required so much rework (in the form of erasing and redrawing). Today, this is all done by computers, making revisions much simpler and more efficient. It would be easy for me to say, "Wow, back in the day, we hardly ever had to change our design; now we change it all the time." That would be focusing on a perceived negative. In reality, we're now able to do more and do it for less cost than we used to. Everybody wins.
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,670
28
located
Every single action and happening of the past is a direct equation that yields the present moment. I am eternally grateful for all of the sacrifices that mankind has undergone so that I can live where I am, and as comfortably as I can. I'm sorry about your complaint of the cheap labor. I really am. But I know for certain that if the United States government had no minimum wage (like the poor countries that produce the goods) we too could manufacture these products. The only reason why everything is produces overseas is because it is too expensive here (because of minimum wages).

Perhaps instead of ruining people's appreciation of modern miracles, if you feel strongly about it, why not try to get the factory jobs back in the USA, and get rid of minimum wage? If I was a producer, I would certainly love to pay Americans to do labor, but unfortunately, that is an overhead cost that cannot be dismissed.
Sorry, I am not one of those US Americans asking back jobs they outsourced, I am also not an US American. I live in Europe, where plenty of hard and undesirable labour is outsourced to less privileged people, just like in every other wealthy economy.

Sorry to derail that appreciation thread, but sometimes I marvel at the ignorance what got and gets us to our luxurious lives.

Yes, we accomplished a lot for a bunch of bipedal hominoids, but we are not finished yet. There is still a long way to go until everyone can reap the luxury we love so much. But when that happens, we will probably have other problems due to our abuse of technology and our inept social skills.
 

mariefuller

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2014
26
0
And we have all experienced rewards as a result of this price.

These technological advances are why people are able to be more productive than ever. Have you ever wondered why a microwave oven sold for about $600 in the 1970's but could be had for $39 today? Or why back in the day a workhorse 8088 computer cost thousands of dollars and had only a tiny fraction of the computing power a smartphone (costing mere hundreds) has today? It's because of technology.

You seem to be focusing on what you see as the "bad" side of technological advances, namely that people are able to do more than they used to - and yes, this means getting more work done. But we're all reaping those benefits. I'm an engineer, and when I started in this business we still drafted plans on paper. It was a painstaking process, and revisions were rare since they required so much rework (in the form of erasing and redrawing). Today, this is all done by computers, making revisions much simpler and more efficient. It would be easy for me to say, "Wow, back in the day, we hardly ever had to change our design; now we change it all the time." That would be focusing on a perceived negative. In reality, we're now able to do more and do it for less cost than we used to. Everybody wins.
I agree, we need to look at the positive side of things. There are MANY more benefits to the technology we have available. If you are bothered by the fact that communication is the best it has ever been, then I believe that your perspective is less than desirable. I say that we should always look to progress, and the worst thing that one can do is try to be a stick in the mud. The progress is happening. Jump on board.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
For better or for worse, the electronic based technologies of today are astounding.. as has been commented on above. But what I think what we (as a society) are missing is this technology is based on a truly mind boggling basic building block. This is all possible simply because we have miniaturized things down to molecular and atomic sizes. (Which is why I believe the future will call us the Miniaturizing Revolution.)

The gates in computer chips are now able to work based on the number of electrons that have passed, not on a voltage.

The distance between the parts in a chip is measured using ruler calibrated at a molecular or atomic level. We still convert that to a fraction of inch when describing the distance. But that has as much relevance as talking about the number of centimetres to the Sun.

We are measuring time so accurately that the recently ended GRAIL mission was able to detect changes in the distance between the two orbiters (Ebb and Flow) down to the micron level. That is... by measuring how long light and/or radio took to travel between two spacecraft that were only 175 to 225 km apart NASA could tell if they had moved a millionth of a metre closer or further apart. Accurately. This kind of technology is now being incorporated into everyday gizmos - though maybe not quite as accurately - and is in fact now a necessary component of everyday gadgets. Cell phones, GPS, etc. etc.

All of the massive changes that happened during the industrial revolution were based on a quantum leap in knowledge about working with metals and alloys. And I think today's technological revolution is based on the ability to work infinitesimally small units of time and stuff.

Good Thread, OP!
 

Mousse

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2008
2,145
3,307
Flea Bottom, King's Landing
For better or for worse, the electronic based technologies of today are astounding.. as has been commented on above. But what I think what we (as a society) are missing is this technology is based on a truly mind boggling basic building block. This is all possible simply because we have miniaturized things down to molecular and atomic sizes. (Which is why I believe the future will call us the Miniaturizing Revolution.)

The gates in computer chips are now able to work based on the number of electrons that have passed, not on a voltage.

The distance between the parts in a chip is measured using ruler calibrated at a molecular or atomic level. We still convert that to a fraction of inch when describing the distance. But that has as much relevance as talking about the number of centimetres to the Sun.

We are measuring time so accurately that the recently ended GRAIL mission was able to detect changes in the distance between the two orbiters (Ebb and Flow) down to the micron level. That is... by measuring how long light and/or radio took to travel between two spacecraft that were only 175 to 225 km apart NASA could tell if they had moved a millionth of a metre closer or further apart. Accurately. This kind of technology is now being incorporated into everyday gizmos - though maybe not quite as accurately - and is in fact now a necessary component of everyday gadgets. Cell phones, GPS, etc. etc.
That's fine and dandy, but where is the flying cars I was foretold in my youth? I want my flying car.:p

 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,278
45
HR 9038 A
Everything is awesome and nobody is happy.

I feel like everyone, myself included, is too stressed about jobs, careers, money, and the future and don't spend enough time just enjoying everything around us.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,203
1,136
We are not at the 'future' until all cars and roadrage have been replaced by Google Driver-less cars all controlled by their SkyNet... err 180 satelites in LEO.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
Everything is awesome and nobody is happy.

I feel like everyone, myself included, is too stressed about jobs, careers, money, and the future and don't spend enough time just enjoying everything around us.
That is all down to how and where you choose to live. I moved from a biggish city, with the traffic and stress, to a small rural community where the priorities are very different. Best move I could have ever made. There were sacrifices, and there are things I miss. But overall my happiness and my health benefited.

I'm not saying that moving to a small rural community on an island is the right choice for you… everyone needs something different. Just that if you aren't happy where you are, you've got feet - use them. The decision making can be difficult or easy - depends on you and your circumstances of course. But you do have choices… play with a few ideas and see what happens.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out back to pick a few strawberries, check up on the peas and tomatoes, and perhaps harvest a few lettuce leaves for lunch before I get back to work. :)
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,868
19,949
The Misty Mountains
On most social levels in comparison to technology, we are barely more advanced than when we lived in caves. I admit to the exaggeration of this characterization, but socially our technology has left our social advancement in the dust. This frustrates me more than making me proud of having cell phones.
 
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