Riding the ages

Technical revolutions such as the Industrial Revolution are periods where the whole world gets revolutionized one area at a time by big contemporary technical breakthroughs. The breakthrough isn’t of any value by itself, but by revolutionizing a large amount of areas we care about, the technology becomes the largest driver of its time.

A revolution runs until the contribution of its values on the world has stagnated. We can no longer make a new machine that halves travel times or frees up as much time for people as the dishwasher does, and so the Industrial Revolution has peaked and room for the next revolution appears.

We’re now living in the ages of the Information Revolution. The driver this time around is the ability to process and communicate information at an ever increasing pace. Just as the goal of the Industrial Revolution turned out to be making manufacturing ubiquitous, the goal of our time must be to make information ubiquitous.

There is still the challenge of creating something of actual value for people — because without actual value that something will not gain momentum enough to move the world forward — but the path forward is clear: getting better information into people’s hands.

Someday this revolution will be replaced by one of another age, but for that to happen, we first all have to move the world there using our time’s biggest breakthrough; by creating valuable ways for people to use information in all the different areas we care about.