I hate the way some people chide developments in technology, as if progress were something to be feared. Multi-player video games? “What about exercise?,” they scold. Email? “Makes things too impersonal,” they say. Facebook? “What about the quality of the relationships?” they shrill. iPhone? “But we’ll be glued to our phones at the expense of real life,” they argue. Each and every one of the naysayers reminds me of Victorian England–a place where people yearned for fixed rules and regulations designed to ostracize newcomers and entrepreneurs.
Every time a new communications invention occurs, we should be ecstatic. Google is apparently working on a phone that will automatically translate languages. Do you realize that within five to ten years, we might be able to call anyone on the planet and have a conversation?
Also, the internet is a godsend for people who are better at writing and reading than speaking and small talk. What’s wrong with a medium that gives an advantage to people who excel at spelling, writing, and grammar? What's wrong with being able to instantly broadcast your ideas to the world for free? Yes, there are some downsides to giving everyone a microphone, but why not focus on the gems we wouldn't have discovered if Big Media (GE, Disney, News Corp, Viacom, CBS) were still in total control of mainstream media?
Overall, the pace of innovation over the last fifteen years has been amazing. We can watch movies and television shows online (Hulu); sell anything directly to millions of people (eBay); talk to people worldwide for free (thank you, Skype); text message anyone (VZ, T); and keep in touch with friends and acquaintances with minimal effort. I realize we're in a recession, and the unemployment picture isn't pretty. But if you ask me, what we've accomplished over the last fifteen years is much more useful to the average person than going to the moon. Yet, almost all Americans loved the idea of space travel and were rightly proud of the Apollo missions. It is sad today to see most Americans not as openly appreciative of our more recent inventions. As far as I'm concerned, what we've done over the last fifteen years is just as good, if not better, than going to the moon. I'm just sayin'.