Thing I found very impressive:
10. Telephones (Landlines vs. Cellphones)
- 1917: Only 8 percent of homes had a landline telephone.
- Today: Forget landlines! In the US, nearly 80 percent of the population has a smartphone (a supercomputer in their pockets). Nearly half of all American households now use only cellphones rather than older landlines. And as far as cost, today, you can Skype anywhere in the world for free over a WiFi network.
A paradigm shift in technology; someone from 1917 would have no clue what you're on about if you started talking about WiFi or Iphones.
12. US Population
- 1917: The US population broke 100 million, and the global population reached 1.9 billion.
- Today: The US population is 320 million, and the global population broke 7.5 billion this year.
Other countries have had more impressive growth rates, but this just reminds me how little of us there were around even 100 years ago.
13. Inventions and Technology
- 1917: The major tech invention in 1917? The toggle light switch.
- Today: The major tech invention of today? CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, which enables us to reprogram life as we know it. And we are making strides in AI, robotics, sensors, networks, synthetic biology, materials science, space exploration and more every day.
Their future looked bright (literally), but ours looks fucking stellar.
Things I found disappointing
1. World Literacy Rates
- 1917: The world literacy rate was only 23 percent.
- Today: Depending on estimates, the world literacy rate today is 86.1 percent.
Don't get me wrong, that is impressive; I just thought it would be much closer to 100%. We still have a ways to go in getting everybody education.
Things I found downright depressing
- 1917: It took 5 days to get from London to New York; 3.5 months to travel from London to Australia.
- Today: A nonstop flight gets you from London to New York in a little over 8 hours, and you can fly from London to Australia in about a day, with just one stop.
Why is this a let down? Because someone from 60-70 years ago could say much the same thing. Seems like civilian aviation only saw significant innovation for a few decades. I mean our most used airliners are a product of the 70s/80s and they aren't much different in terms of basic capability from their predecessors in 50s/60s. When am I gonna get my god damn hypersonic spaceplanes!