Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I guess you are referring about the computing revolution? There are definitely impressive things about it but it has not significantly changed our lives yet. Only the communication parts and shopping, for the most. Institutions, behaviors and culture have not changed significantly yet, if not for a minority of the population. Do not take me wrong, I also think there is a tremendous potential for innovation and progress, my point is just that it takes time. I am not THAT impressed with the past 10-20 years at least where innovation has been very slow overall across all industries, in my opinion. I do not know about you, but I think the introduction of fossil fuels in the 19th and 20th century as well as the spread of electricity, radio and television were definitely MORE life-changing that what we experience nowadays.

I think you are missing the fact that the internet has allowed every human who can access it (less those under government filters) to have access to nearly the sum of all human knowledge. No, we don't precisely know what to do with this access just yet, but we have it. For instance, you can look up the intricacies of the 'Launch loop' in seconds and scan the contents of every academic paper relating to it in minutes. This immediacy of information is unprecedented in human history.

To say that only communication and shopping have been revolutionized in the past 20 years is grossly misinformed. Human interaction with each other, with ourselves, and with knowledge has been fundamentally changed for a very substantial portion of the population. No, it has not reached every corner of the globe, but neither has electricity, radio, or television.

My point is, it has not changed the world yet. Access to information is great but who cares? Do you see many people hanging in libraries instead of going drinking to the bar? No. Same at home: most people waste their evenings watching TV or on Facebook and do not spend it reading Wikipedia and getting more knowledgeable about everything. The problem has never been so much about access, but wanting to access the information. So it's like having a rocket ship when all you need is a bicycle to go where you need in everyday life. Not useful for many people.

And let me question your claims about knowledge being fundamentally changed. Kids still go to school. Still pass exams the same way as 50 years ago. Education has not changed at all, except for a pocket of people who follow coursera or other online systems. It's all very small and you are probably exaggerating the impact because you are aware of it and living in that particular tech-sphere. Not everyone read Hacker News, not everyone knows how to use computers, and most people who have computers do the same very basic things with them every single day. At least my claims are substantiated. Amazon has clearly changed shopping, and Skype/IM/email has drastically made communication cheap and led to calls being very affordable in almost every location in the world. For other things, change is not so visible and apparent.

> Access to information is great but who cares? Do you see many people hanging in libraries instead of going drinking to the bar? No.

Everyone. Because what changed is not only the amount of information, but also the immediacy of access to it. Those people going drinking to the bar quite likely found it on Google before going there for the first time. And those same people now Google up everything they want to know the moment they need it, including many practical things. "Normal" (non-tech) people, from my observation, tend to look up on-line many things in their life, for example gift ideas, travel & tourism information and practicalities ("how to do X").

You could also argue that it is the first time so many people are exposed to such a big amount of cultural work - including pirated movies, music, YouTube and Internet memes. People share common culture across the globe, and the Internet itself slowly starts to behave like a single brain.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact