Throughout most of Humanity’s existence, there were attributes of daily life that remained fairly consistent, with few differences. Whether one looks at ancient Egypt or colonial America thousands of years later, there were horse-drawn carriages, fire-lit homes, no indoor plumbing, high mortality rates due to disease and infection, and so on. Trade was conducted in fairly similar ways as well, with barter and gold coins prevalent.
It is therefore remarkable to consider how rapidly the world changed with the impact of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th and 20th centuries. Inventions like the telegraph, railroads, electricity, and indoor plumbing radically enhanced the quality of life for the world. The telephone, airplane, automobile, radio, television and more rapidly advanced the capabilities and communication abilities of society. Within the span of 150 years, these advancements changed the world, as compared to millennia before.
One of the greatest benefits of these advancements was the way they brought Humanity together. Prior to these inventions, people relied on sending notes via in-person messenger/telegrams and often waited months for news via ships. Progress took significantly longer to achieve than in today’s era of immediate gratification. Building wealth took a lifetime, if not generations.
The technologies developed during the Industrial Revolution rapidly accelerated this progress. People were able to travel quickly via railroad and cars, they could speak in real-time by telephone and were able to organize efforts efficiently. This enabled the formation of corporations and other large institutions, which capitalized on the labor of the masses, which were often organized into assembly lines to maximize efficiency.
Wealth creation was expedited further with the development of the stock market exchange and the rise of speculative investment. After the stock market crash of 1929, the Great Depression and decades of unbridled corporate ambition, the next wave of technological advancement began in the 1990s during the Internet Revolution.
What began as a way for people around the world to connect even more easily with email and static informational websites, rapidly developed into chatrooms, online news, ecommerce, social media, smartphones, digital streaming, and cryptocurrency. Printed newspapers and payphones became relics of the past, and people could live anywhere in the world and work from home with an internet connection and a smartphone.
These developments were accelerated during the pandemic, which forced mass adoption of the newest tools among those who were resistant previously. With more people staying at home and connecting online via platforms such as Reddit and Telegram (the app), the power of mass communication, coordinated efforts and speed of technologies is uniting Humanity faster than ever before.
(This is Part 1 of a two-part series.)