Paradigm shifts

There are moments when a new technology causes a paradigm shift. In each such case, the introduction of one innovation has resulted in many millions of people experiencing reality differently.

Some of my favorite such moments in recent times were the introduction of, respectively, trains, paperback books, cars+roads, indoor plumbing, electricity as a utility, cinema, airplanes, radio, television, air conditioning, the Web and SmartPhones.

Then of course there are all the medical advances which have extended human life dramatically. That constitutes an entire category by itself.

I wonder what the next big paradigm-shifting technology will be.

3 thoughts on “Paradigm shifts”

  1. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with the web, and a hate/hate one with smartphones. The rest of the list makes sense to me.

    I would add the personal computer. It “democratized” access to computing resources. The web was supposed to further that, but it turns out to have largely shifted us back to centralized control, laying the foundations for the smartphone model.

    Plastics enabled a major paradigm shift, but I wouldn’t put it on a list of “favorites”.

  2. George Perec wrote in 1974: “There are few events which don’t leave a written trace at least. At one time or another, almost everything passes through a sheet of paper, the page of a notebook, or of a diary, or some other chance support (a Metro ticket, the margin of a newspaper, a cigarette packet, the back of an envelope etc.) on which, at varying speeds and by different technique depending on the place, time or mood, one or another of the miscellaneous elements that comprise the everydayness of life comes to be inscribed.” Every item listed by Perec has now become digitalized, from e-cigarettes to train tickets to online newspapers to email… Now few events of everydayness dont leave a digital trace at least. Talk about a paradigm shift in inscription…

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