Three Generations of Technological Change

I took this picture this afternoon of Fran and Rhiannon showing off Rhiannon’s (well, our, actually) new toy — an iPad — to my father. As we sat together and talked about, and explored, all that the iPad could do, my father began to talk about how when he was younger, television was such an innovative technology. “My next door neighbor had one, and kept telling me I should buy one, as it was the wave of the future,” he mused. I asked him how old he was when he saw a TV for the first time. “I was in New York, and they had one at a store near Times Square,” he replied. I said, “Was that in ’45?” He nodded. Dad met, and married, my New Yorker mother in 1945, when he was only about 22 years old.

I was about that age when I first encountered a cool new form of technology. I was a senior in college in 1982, when the chairman of my department acquired an Apple II. I remember when a group of students went over to his house and we spent the afternoon playing on the computer. Later on I visited him by myself, and we ended up doing the same thing. Not too different from my Dad visiting his next door neighbor to watch TV — or the four of us, now with Rhiannon in her early 20s, sitting down together with an iPad.

From television to the personal computer to the tablet. What will be the gotta-share-it technology for the next generation?

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  1. Makes you wonder what our childrens children will be sporting around!

  2. Phil Soucheray says:


    My mom made sure ours was the first house on the block to have a color TV. Later in her life she would write to Ted Turner saying that she used to worry about missing the second coming, until she found CNN. I, too, have a child who is 22 and we have often observed how just in one generation (mine) we have seen audio technology go from vinyl, to 8-track, to cassette, to iPod, to satellite radio. I don’t know what the next great advance may be — but, taking my mom’s lead — I will say I expect it will come from the likes of Apple.

  3. DollysGirl says:

    I kinda like gadgets, though I can’t afford many of them. But what makes me really uneasy is the development of nano thingies. I like to utilize technology but I don’t want to BECOME technology. I can remove my eyeglasses and my spouse can do the same with hearing aids. But my body is still organic if flawed. With nano thingies infiltrating cellular and even to the molecular and possibly atomic and subatomic portions of what I thing of as me, the question becomes Am I a human or something else. And who or what is controlling the manufactured parts? Am I creeping you out? I am not giving up this nifty netbook I’m using to share these dire thoughts or my glasses so I can see what I’m typing. But our grandchildren may face choices one day and what will guide those decisions? There are powers I believe that want to destroy humanity in general and children of God in particular. Redefine human and they may suceed.

  4. Phil Soucheray says:

    I honor your worry. For now the nano tech movement seems focused on finding ways to recover some of the lost functions of our organic bodies. But rue the day if it gets to a point where we begin to replace the whole body. Even if the soul can somehow be transplanted, it would not be good or right.

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