Ah, technology. Thank God — or Steve Jobs — for it. In the course of a couple of decades, we went from horse-and-buggies to Model T's. We went from typewriters to laptops, and from climbing up Everest to landing on the moon.
But lately those kinds of think-big, Jetsons-inspired, out-of-this-world advances seem increasingly nostalgic. The only real improvements to automobiles we've made are that they go a little faster, and you can rock out to your favorite tunes while driving. Computer science has begotten that vexing tabernacle of social networking called Facebook and Twitter. And as for space, well, the president thinks we've seen all we need to of the moon.
Indeed, most of our big ideas are decidedly smaller these days — we are ever shrinking technology to fit on the head of a pin.
That's all fine and good, so long as progress also continues to address our practical concerns as well as our urge to fondle the latest gadget or escape into an Avatar-blue world of 3-D fantasy. Even though — let's face it — I'll probably get an iPad, it's hard for me to work up any real excitement over the idea of reading a newspaper on a piece of glass and metal when there are so many other obvious innovations we sorely need.
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