Q: If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?
A: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers.
There are already people who don’t know what it’s like to live without a mobile phone. Or any kind of phone. The same goes for a lot of the technology we use today.
My parents, as part of their parents’ families, didn’t have phones because their families were poor (before, during and after the Great Depression). While I was growing up, we only had one land line in our house and there were years when we didn’t have a phone at all. Now, it seems like everyone has a phone of some kind. I honestly don’t think we’re better off than my grandparents were.
The Internet didn’t exist as a completely commercial platform until 1995. I was 34 back then. When I was young, I had to do all of my school research using books in a library. The children today can get all that information off the worldwide web, without leaving home.
Before computers became commonplace, music and movie piracy barely existed. Music came on vinyl “records” and movies only came on film.
This type of piracy exists today because music and movies can be packaged as files, which most computers can read. We can even play music and watch movies on mobile phones, something we couldn’t do a decade ago. More than anything, the legacy industries have failed to adapt to new technology until years after the fact.
It amazes me, with all the information available to us today, that a lot of people spend most of their time on social networks. They have arguments, play video games and look at pictures. I think this heavily altered clip from Marvel’s Daredevil (originally available on Netflix) sums it all up pretty well. You might want to stop it before Wilson Fisk starts repeating “videos of cats”: