Eighty-Six Years of Technology

My fiance's grandfather just turned 86 years old this past weekend. A couple of weeks ago, he purchased a high def camcorder and he's really excited about using it. As it turns out, his current computer isn't good enough to play back the videos the camera records. The solution? A brand new dual core system with a 500gig drive and a 19" flat panel display.

Here's a man that was born in 1922. He witnessed many of the twentieth century inventions like the band-aid, frozen food, quartz watches, the aerosol can, bubble gum and electric shavers. He knew the world before scotch tape, radio, ballpoint pens, and the microwave were invented. Now he's probably got more processing power on his desk than was existent in the whole world when he was born.

When he was growing up, the main method of communitcation was the telegraph. He was in his 20s when television stations started rolling out. He was in his 30s when credit cards were introduced, and in his 40s when the handheld calculator was invented. Fast forward 30 more years and he was in his 70s when I started browsing a text based internet with a 2400 baud rate modem.

He witnessed the introduction of the rotary dial phone, and the growth of commercial flight in the 1930s. Pretty much any technology we have now, he lived without, saw the introduction of, and witnessed become mainstream.

Today, in 2008 he calls Guatemala to speak with family using Skype, and he gets his latin news online, using Firefox no less. He can record 20+ hours of high def footage on an internal hard drive on his new camcorder and produce a DVD in a matter of minutes.

Its amazing to think how drastic technology has changed during his life. I hope I'll reach his age and be as healthy as he is. I wonder what tech toys I'll be playing with then.

How much will technology change in the next 86 years?