The greatest techological achievements of our lifetime?

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by Takeshi357, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. Takeshi357

    Takeshi357 "Research"

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    I was thinking the other day about the US civil war generation and what they lived to see. The last veteran died in 1953, and what happened between that and 1865? Airplanes, telephones, automobiles, radio, television, the A-bomb. And people born during the war would most certainly live old enough to not only see man go to space, but land on the moon too.

    What about us though, the generation born in the mid-70's and later?

    I can think of two things off the top of my head, at least for myself, being born in 1984; mobile phones and the internet. Granted, internet probably did exist before that, but in an extremely rudimentary form, and even by 1989 and outside government establishments, it was largely just a collection of newsgroups accessible to a very small part of the population. What did happen afterwards was the massive proliferation of the internet, thanks to a number of contributing factors; the most visible changes being the massive increases in dial-up speeds and the accessibility of home computers with graphic user interfaces. Other major factors would probably be the standardization over the myriad of non-standard home computers of the 80's, and the removal of the last restrictions on commercial traffic in 1995. Then we finally got proper search engines, social media, etc.

    And mobile phones? I still remember in the early 90's when a classmate of mine from grade school, his dad had one of those early GSM car phones; you know the ones, the ones with the receiver attached to a huge box with a giant battery and an antenna and a carrying handle on it? Everyone thought that was a big deal back then. And look at where we've gotten since? Very few people I know even have land lines anymore, everyone and their kids have cell phones, and the telephone booths still standing are empty and unused.

    In one hand, the achievements made (or at least the number of significant ones) while we've been alive seem to pale in comparison to those of the previous generation, but in the other, could anyone then truly perceive the impact of their inventions on the future of the world either? Thoughts?
     
  2. bignick1693

    bignick1693 Maximal

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    Well my lifetime span is small compare to others. So past 20 years for me. NFC. I think there is a lot of cool stuff we can use with it that we never tried yet.
     
  3. Hadlen_Weltall

    Hadlen_Weltall The original Mad Genius Gunpla and Cow Master

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    the wheel. period. because I haven't invented the pocket chainsaw can opener yet.
     
  4. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong.

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    The wheel? Wow, you must be very old.
     
  5. rattrap007

    rattrap007 One meme mutha f’er TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think of something computer related. I'm 35. I've gone from the green screen computers at school, commodore 64s, Early windows 3.1 to modern laptops. Same with games. Atari -> Nintendo/Genesis -> SNES -> N64 -> Playstation 1 +2 -> X-Box etc..

    If I had to narrow it down to ONE item though it would be an Ipod/Ipod Touch/Iphone device. You can store thousands of songs, play games, use the internet, watch TV/movies, chat on the phone, text, etc. Fifteen years ago this would take up the space of a small room, but now it fits in your pocket!. It is as magical of a device as anything from Star Trek in the 60s was to them.
     
  6. Takeshi357

    Takeshi357 "Research"

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    But have any of those really affected your way of life? I mean portable music players have been around since Walkman, and iPhone is just a glorified cell phone.

    I'm more ambivalent towards video game consoles - the first generation came around the same time as home computers, which back then were sold as kits a lá Altair 8800, so it's difficult to tell how much the existence of one affected the other. You've got science tool in one hand that would quickly develop into an office mainstay, and an entertainment device in the other, and both would eventually find their way inside the same case when the first computer game was made.

    But the shift from massive mainframe computers that would only be found in universities and government buildings, to something a private party could buy and use in their own home, was certainly a remarkable change for sure.
     
  7. smkspy

    smkspy Remember true fans

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    Smartphones.

    Camera
    video record
    Internet
    calculator
    time piece
    TV/dvd/ cable box remote
    Near television itself with Netflix etc
    Mp3

    Basically all the electronic devices of the last 60 years in one device.
     
  8. Rexidus

    Rexidus Autobot

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    What single technological feat that came to fruition in my lifetime will have the greatest effect on the human species?

    The internet. I have access to the sum total of human knowledge. I can learn how to build a table; how to survive in the wild; how to calculate the angle and escape velocity required to land on the moon; and virtually any other thing I can think of with just a few hours of Google. I can communicate with someone anywhere on the planet in real time. I can view events live from any location. The internet has turned the entire human race into a single community and the ramifications of that are only just beginning to be seen. It's damn near mystical.

    I will say it is a valid argument for the smart phone but in 50 years I doubt the smart phone will be as it is now, thus it is a very good stepping stone but I feel it is just one step on the path towards what it will become. Something like Google Glasses, progressed a number of generations in size, power, and capability, would likely render the smart phone obsolete for example. Thus I don't think a smart phone would qualify as the "greatest".

    Now when I first read this thread I thought it was going to be asking about the greatest technological achievement in human history; to which I was preparing to answer the integrated circuit followed closely by the internet. But I am not that old...
     
  9. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    ^This.
     
  10. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 Optimus, serving up the primest of ribs since 1984

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    Computers going from the size of your room to so small they can fit in your hand.
     
  11. rattrap007

    rattrap007 One meme mutha f’er TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ah but it is within MY lifetime. As long as I have been alive home computers have been around for the most part.

    The Ipod/Iphone is leaps and bounds greater than a simple home computer. It does thousands of things and you can keep putting more and more on it and it is smaller than a deck of cards! You can do so many things with the one tiny device.

    I will also go with the internet. Where else are you going to get your porn? From a magazine like a primitive? I think not.
     
  12. Rexidus

    Rexidus Autobot

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    Internet porn is one of the greatest things ever...
     
  13. Sir Spamsalot

    Sir Spamsalot Well-Known Member

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    The shamwow
     
  14. bookwormdalek

    bookwormdalek Gotta get a grip

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    I'd say the Large Hadron Collider, but I'm pretty much convinced it's gonna malfunction and kill everyone one day, so instead, I'll just go with Oxy-Clean.
     
  15. Purple Heart

    Purple Heart Some other time..

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    Hi, Billy Mays here...
     
  16. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

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    This. And to be honest, the smart phone is a tiny portable way to access the internet.
     
  17. Fuzz

    Fuzz Garbage Pail Kid

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    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the mars rovers. Curiosity traveled almost 100 million miles to get to Mars.
     
  18. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Veteran

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    Dota 2.
     
  19. Haloid1177

    Haloid1177 Hey, That's Pretty Good

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    Smartphones for me, and I guess coming soon flexible displays.
     
  20. Smasher

    Smasher HUNKY BEATS

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    Spell check.
    Spell check is the greatest technological achievement in our lifetime.
    For instance, even if I'm using a browser, it alerts me that "techological" isn't really a word; it's "technological".
    Spell check is great.