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>You can handwave that away by calling it 'better networks' or 'democratized for the masses'

Yes, I can; I already have. Hell, half the things you list (GPS similar things already existed, as did speech recognition, "computer vision," space stations, ARPANET, etc etc) already existed in 1969. Nothing like antibiotics existed in 1919; an absolute biological cataclysm which effectively ended infectious disease as a public health problem. Nothing like space flight existed in 1919. Nothing like atom bombs existed in 1919. Nothing like the LSI chip, the mutha fookin' computer or even the transistor existed in 1919.

Antivirals compared to antibiotics? Not even close in its effects on humanity. Arguably the former don't really work.

The differences are huge. I realize whiggism is the ideology of the modern day ruling class, and on hacker news people consider themselves technologists, so we have to keep touting how ding dongs from harvard are going to bring about muh swingularity, but the pace of progress has obviously, egregiously stalled, and in some areas is actually reversing.






I don't understand why you make patently false claims when Google is right there.

- The GPS program started in 1973 and the first satellite was launched in 1978 and was became fully operational in 1995. Prior to that, what global system for location identification existed?

- Speech recognition didn't work effectively 15 years let along in 1969. Dragon didn't even exist until 1982. In 1962, the state of the art in speech recognition was the ability to recognize a vocabulary of 16 words if they were clearly spoken. And in 1969 Bell Labs shut down speech recognition efforts: "It is not easy to see a practical, economically sound application for speech recognition with [current] capability"[1]

- "which effectively ended infectious disease as a public health problem". This is such an unbelievably uninformed thing to say. Infectious disease continues to be a major public health problem (ask literally anyone in public health if we have "ended infectious disease as a public health problem").

- What space stations existed in 1969? Salyut 1 launched in 1971

- ARPANET in 1969 was absolutely not "instant global communication"

Your 'good old days' glasses are ridiculous.

[1] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0155/01c4d26a92993332ada795...


>The GPS program started in 1973 and the first satellite was launched in 1978 and was became fully operational in 1995. Prior to that, what global system for location identification existed?

Yes, it was called the Loran-C system. It wasn't something you could put in your phone, and it wasn't as accurate as GPS, but it worked on very similar principles (maybe still exists?) and every airplane and boat above a certain size had a set. You will note that OP said "GPS like systems" rather than "GPS." That's the problem with using superficial googling rather than, you know "knowing shit."

You're talking about speech recognition as a consumer device; yes, that came later, because everything on a computer was pretty much restricted to large centers until later. But speech recognition was reasonably well developed in the 60s and worked on limited problems. Conceptually similar to crap we use now in call center software which uses simple filters, kmeans fingerprinting and huge restrictions in the space of words.

As for your dismissal of antibiotics; your own ignorance of history is showing. I have a pile of housewife manuals from the pre antibiotic era. Most of them are concerned with taking care of people who had debilitating infectious disease (fascinating reading for what it was worth). Why? Because every family in America was going to have someone laid low by infectious disease. Sometimes for years! If you look back in history; one of the leading causes of death pre antibiotics was gonorrhea. Imagine dying from bleeding out through your urethra. That was your potential fate if you participated in naughty non-monogamous sex before penicillin. There are historical laws on the books which cause doctors to put silver oxides on children's eyes after birth; this was to prevent gonorrhea induced blindness. These sorts of problems don't exist any more; it's been so effectively wiped out from human experience in modern societies with access to antibiotics, presumably educated people like you aren't even dimly aware of it. You can, as I said in the original article, attribute the sexual revolution not to the pill; it was antibiotics which made it possible, as promiscuity potentially meant rapid death in the old days. You nitpicking that "well we still have diseases" is simple historical ignorance. No shit we still have diseases, but you have apparently forgotten how many we used to have that are no longer a problem. Because of the tremendous revolution of antibiotics.

I don't have good old days glasses; the "good old days" were horrible and brutal compared to now. I merely note the incredible breakthroughs of earlier era are not repeated in our modern era of "progress." Probably because things are so soft now.


Loran-C is interesting (thanks for sharing, I hadn't heard of that before), but it sure doesn't look global. As of 1992, it extended to: USA, Greenland and the Mediterranean[1].

SR systems that had vocabularies of low double digit words don't seem particularly comparable to modern systems. Also, I think you might be out-of-date on what modern systems look like - your description does not match my experience with production SR system whatsoever.

I never dismissed antibiotics. They absolutely changed the world, I am in no way disagreeing with that. I took issue with your claim that they "effectively ended infectious disease as a public health problem". My entire family works in epidemiology/public health for infectious diseases and that statement is just pure crap. You would be hard-pressed to find a single person in the entire field who would agree with you.

[1] https://www.loran.org/otherarchives/1992%20Loran-C%20User%20.... Appendix B, coverage diagrams




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