Technological Progress and Innovation

“Any study of the history of technological development reveals that technological progress comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way. Pocket calculators are not built with vacuum tubes. Supersonic flight is not achieved with propellers. Lasers are not just better light bulbs. In short, the future is definitely NOT a mere extrapolation of the past.” – Stanton Friedman

The above quote neatly captures the essence  of  innovation and progress and  also explains why most  predictions  of the future are so off the mark.   We do not commute to work in our jetpack, have a robotic assistant or have summer vacations on Mars – all of which were predicted as commonplace in the 21st century.   None of these predictions have materialized probably because they were just linear projections of   cars, computers and space travel.   Instead we  have other wonderful technologies that were not predicted  – like the internet, the world wide web,  cellphones, instant messaging, email,   GPS  all of which evolved somewhat unpredictably from computer networking, radio communication  and satellites.

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