Technology Turning

New Generation
Chemical Reactions
Brute Force
Fusion is 30 Years Away Coming Soon
Nashville and NYC

We often talk about technology’s influence on the economy. After the Strategic Investment Conference, though, I’ve decided that isn’t strong enough. It’s more correct to say technology is the economy. But when I use the word technology here, I'm not talking about the big, nifty eight tech companies that dominate today’s stock market. I'm talking more about the entire scope of technological advances over the past 300+ years. None of our economy today is possible without those advances.

Broadly defined, technology is the practical application of knowledge. Humans learn things about the world and then use them to make life better. The improvements let us learn even more, which we apply again, in a repeating process going back millennia. Economics describes how we allocate these improvements through human society.

Until recently, technology developed slowly. Daily life didn’t change a great deal between, say, 1500 BC and 1500 AD. Ships still had sails (although we had learned to sail into the wind). Horses were the fastest means of ground transportation. Then the pace accelerated with the printing press, gunpowder, steam engines, electricity, radios, and more.

Now, older people (like me) have seen more technological progress in 50‒70 years than occurred in the prior thousand years—and it’s still accelerating. The world I inhabited as a young adult in the 1970s was, we thought at the time, a period of extraordinary change. Men had just walked on the moon! But it’s nothing like now.