There Centuries of Tech

John Thomson


Published: 05/25/2018 03:08:53 PM EST in

Many thanks to the reader that brought to my attention the Barclays Equity Gilt Study, an annual report published by the British bank that addresses topics on finance and economics with a look at how technology changes the way we live.

Included in the Barclays report and summarized by Business Insider is a graph mapping how technology has improved hourly productivity over the last three centuries. The Barclays productivity assessment gives a worker in 1760 an index measure of 100 whereas the productivity of a worker in 2018 has moved to 3,000 on the same index. Interestingly, it took from 1760 to 1960 or 200 years for the hourly productivity index to reach 1,000 index points yet only 50 years to triple to 3,000 index points. How long before it reaches 4,000 and what new way of thinking will get us there?

Barclays provides a neat list of key technological innovations that drove improvements to human productivity over the centuries. Here are some standouts by year of invention:

1440 - Gutenberg Printing Press
1589 - Mechanical Knitting Machine
1630 - The Slide Rule
1765 - Watt's Steam Engine
1790 - Sewing Machine
1816 - Telegraph
1867 - Dynamite
1879 - Light Bulb
1893 - Diesel Engine
1898 - Plastic
1903 - Gas Turbine
1909 - Television Broadcast
1915 - Tank
1931 - Electron microscope
1941 - Polyester
1948 - Atomic Clock
1953 - Video Tape Recorder
1956 - Hard Disk Drive
1957 - IMB Sputnik
1967 - The ATM Machine

And then things really started to take off with the pocket calculator in 1970, Email in 1971, microcomputers by 1975, flash memory in 1980, the cell phone in 1984, the World Wide Web in 1990 and on and on. On the Barclays' list something major happens every year from 1990 to 2013: text messaging, web browser, DVD. USB, Bluetooth, Google, Netflix, Facebook, the iPod.... I find it incredibly fascinating just how fast technology is moving and find it almost unfathomable to think that the companies and ideas that could make Google look as dated at the Gutenberg Press have yet to be invented. If your words to live by are; "change is good" you are most certainly living in the right era!

As always many thanks for reading.

John Thomson
jthomson@wifihifi.ca

 





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