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> Oh, there is this new computer & internet thing but that's it.

This sentence is doing an unbelievable amount of work. I don't think you realize how strange it is that we have instant-speed trans-Atlantic communication that can transmit massive amounts of data. Computers are practically foreign objects to plenty of people born in the 60s, who grew up as they were invented. You don't think someone from 1920, with no prior exposure to them, would think that a smartphone is just a standard part of everyday life?

Not to mention all the other massive changes to society that you ignored. Commercial flights started in the 1920s and are now commonplace in everyday life. Digital audio; televisions; massive changes to cars; ATMs and credit cards. Can you imagine someone from the 1920s trying to operate a Dyson AirBlade?

This is before accounting for the crazy rate of cultural change that would shock someone from 100 years ago. Half the words used in daily conversation wouldn't even make sense to someone from 1920.

"instant-speed trans-Atlantic communication" started with the laying of the first trans-atlantic telegraph cables in the 1860's, and allowed machine to machine communications, messaging, shopping, there are even cases of people marrying after meeting over the telegraph. Radio was in use by the 1920's and a smartphone is basically a personal 2-way radio with pretensions!

I think a lot of modern tech is really just 19th century tech done (a lot) better, smaller, faster, more conveniently, and much more widespread.

I was born in the 60s and I hold with the people who think we've been in relative stagnation, despite sometimes getting that living-in-the-future feeling. The 80s and 90s felt like progress was picking up after the 70s malaise, but not like the decades around 1900 as I've read about them. Since 2000ish it's like we went down the wrong trouser-leg of time.

You could make transatlantic calls in the 1920s. Sure, it was not that fast or capable as the internet, but the fundamental capability of connecting the world together has been around for a century or so. So it's not that strange as you try to make it to be.

You're being incredibly disingenuous; the very first transatlantic call was made in 1927. To say that the "fundamental capability" of information transmission was there is like saying that the fundamental capability of travel or illumination existed with the horse or candle. You can't simultaneously claim that the car's invention represents a dramatic paradigm shift while the Internet doesn't.

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