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9/24/2011

Look Out Below!!!!!


As I write this, the satellite hasn't fallen from the sky, yet. The fact that it's up there, and headed down here, is NBD (no big deal), these days.

When I was born, my Grandfather was as old as I am now. He was 80 when he died in 1959. He lived long enough to see the first satellites launched, dial telephones become dominant and the automatic transmission firmly established in the automobile.

He fought in the Spanish American War in 1899. On horseback. During his lifetime, he saw the arrival of the airplane, the tank, the bazooka and the semi-automatic rifle.

He worked for, and retired from, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He saw steam give way to diesel, and many railroads went out of business as consolidation took place in the industry.

My Grandfather saw a natural progression of technology as the Industrial Revolution, which peaked in the late 1800's, began to mature in the early to mid 20th Century.

What he missed - what he never saw the benefit of - was the invention of the Integrated Circuit. It was, basically, invented in 1959, the year that he died. Because of what he missed, the IC, The Industrial Revolution died and the Digital Age began.

Because of what he missed, I, in MY life, have seen more change than he saw, or could have imagined. 10 times more. And rather than a natural progression of existing technologies, what I have seen, constantly, is the introduction of life changing, radical new technologies on a regular basis.

The thing is, that this Digital Age is going to mature, at some point. The new stuff that comes into existence will be refinements of existing technology. Up to a point.

Satellites falling from the sky will be as common as rain. Silicon and Germainum and Gallium Arsenide chips will be as common as dirt.

The next step is going to be biological. The next step is going to be a revolution in computers that mimic the brain because we will have learned how to create artificial neuron cells that work like a brain but interface with mechanical (or analog) systems. We will grow computers, not build them. Those computers will make existing computers look like a Texas Instruments Calculator from 1979.

The thing is, the pace of change has become SO accelerated, *I* will live long enough to see this technology invented, developed, and matured.

Provided, of course, I don't step outside and get crushed by a falling satellite.

Ndinombethe.

3 comments:

Grandmother said...

What a fascinating overview of where we are, where we've come from and where we're going. The biological developments are more understandable to me with my background in medical science, but mind blowing nonetheless. How about what's happening in medical nanotechnology? In our lifetime!

Tara R. said...

My GGrandpa served in the Spanish American War too. How cool would it be if they knew each other?

Even in my children's lifetime, there is antiquated technology they never experienced. It's mind boggling.

Big Mark 243 said...

I happen to think that as human beings that we have reached the genetic limits of our biology. I don't think that the lesser traits of our character such as greed and ability to visit inhumanity upon one another will allow for that kind of evolution to take place.

For biology to evolve, I think the spirit must evolve. We don't use our brains to its fullest capacity, and that is where the spirit and all those 'myths we live by' dwell. Until that gains traction in our human community, what we are, naturally, is what we will get.

The biological answer will remain a mystery until we can solve the spiritual questions that bedevil us... just a thought...