June 5, 2011

Ages of Man & Pace of Change

I share this chart with my classes in NAT132: Technology and the Culture of Wealth. They are amazed at how the pace of technological change has accelerated over the millennia.

Ages of Man

If the pace of change continues unabated, without economic collapse, extinction level event, or global catastrophe of some sort, we can expect the pattern to continue, with new “ages” occurring in approximately half the time as the previous age. That gives us about 10 to 12 years in the Connected Age (until 2015 or so) for technology, the economy, and our ideologies to shift to a new outlook.

Why the “Connected Age”?

Facebook launched in 2004, about the same time other relationship-building technologies were catching on, and wireless computing was becoming ubiquitous. To define an “Age”, we look at the technologies, the economy, and what was occupying people’s thinking during those years. After 25 years awash in information, we started using our connections — both personal and technical (via wireless and mobile) — to deal with life, to filter all that information, and to build community on this vast playground called the World Wide Web.

We also started to realize that everything was connected: the economy and the environment in particular. One major effect in any area of the economy can ripple throughout the globe, affecting money markets in Europe, China, South America, and at home. Anything that causes an impact on the environment affects the entire planet, throwing weather systems, temperature, and ecosystems out of whack. Anything that makes news somewhere in the world is quickly spread to other parts of the world. With a few clicks and plenty of bandwidth we can know what is going on pretty much anywhere, even in the nest of a Bald Eagle.

We are connected now more than ever before, hence we are living in the Connected Age.

The truly interesting question is “What will we call the next age?”

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Need help with handling the pace of change or growing your business? I have some ideas for you. Contact me: beth (at) bethagnew.com

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