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General Interest

MICRO-AGES OF MAN IN EXACTLY 500 WORDS

There’s lots of good things going on these days; cool stuff, fun stuff, nice things being done, complicated technology transforming daily lives, and a whole lot of good people all over the place doing their best to live right and keep their families safe and warm. That sentence could describe a lot of  eras in history, The Industrial Revolution, the Bronze Age, The Navigation Age or even The Advent of Fire. The Wheel.

The difference is that this current era, the Information Age, is evolving even faster than the Industrial Revolution, which threw a mostly agrarian humanity for a loop and after only about 200 years culminated in a super-mechanized World War that killed 60 million people. That was pretty traumatic for everybody. We’re still not over it.

Time was, there was a whole bunch of centuries used up in an Age. The Iron Age took up almost 1,000 years. The Bronze Age? Over 2,000, plenty of time for everybody to get the hang of bronze.

Then someone invented a printing press, and whammo!, now everyone can read. Not only that, they noticed that this printing press thing is a machine, then they all start building machines until all the farmboys are choking in some rich guy’s sweaty foundry or driving a tank in somebody’s army somewhere, while giant machines did the farm work. Then it all blew up in our faces. Literally.

Most of humanity spent the entire Industrial Revolution playing catch-up ball and the space between haves and have-nots became a chasm. Then, without even a chance for everybody to get used to internal combustion, Bam!, here comes the Information Age and now we’re really behind the 8 ball! Just to rub it in, we are reminded every 6 months by Steve Jobs that we are all hopelessly out of date and falling pathetically behind. Dang!

And you just know that The information Age is going to go whip right by in a matter of decades, the blink of an eye in terms of history, and then give way to some other Micro Age that we are not prepared for either, not when your greatest technical accomplishment is learning what the F12 key does.

This next one, we are told, will involve hooking human brains up to the internet and seeding the planet with trillions of tiny sensors so that a field of tomatoes tells you when they are ripe. Very Borg. Hopefully, this sharing of brain and internet will get us all up to speed on what’s expected of us, since most of us are still completely dependent upon strangers from India using assumed names to help us cope with the Information Age.

The only thing we can be sure about the next Micro-Age is that we won’t have the luxury of much time to adjust, sort of unfair to beings that took 2,500 years to master bronze. If this Information Age ends so swiftly, how long will the next one last, or the next or the next Micro-Age? 15 minutes? Maybe Warhol was right.

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