05 November 2016

Rapid Progress, or Shocked at the Future

Progress depends on two kinds of innovations and inventions: technological and social. A technological invention like a water wheel or social innovation like outlawing serfdom lead to better lives and disrupt current lives.

It's easy to forget how rapidly we're making progress and how much disruption we face.

In 1903, for the first time in human history, we had heavier than air flight. By 1968, men were walking on the moon. Just 65 years.

In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional. President Barack Obama was born to an interracial couple six years before the Supreme Court ruled that he - or at least he marriage that produced him - would be legal in every state. (And the ruling was for a couple so aptly named Loving.)

In 1969, Yale went coed. In 1969, Hillary Clinton began law school at Yale.

It's not just that we're creating new technology like the pill or smart phones; we're creating new social realities that are unprecedented. It's little wonder that there is a backlash from time to time, a variant on Alvin Toffler's future shock that might just be a state of feeling shocked that the future is now rather than later and that the reality we'd just grown accustomed to has changed again today. You don't have to move to find yourself living in a different place.

No comments: