Do you notice how fast tech is changing?

Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 By Brad Wardell In Life, the Universe and Everything

I'm on an airplane right now.  I've been flying pretty regularly since I was 5 years old (parents got divorced and back then they could live in different states). 

It's the flight experience where you can really see how much tech has changed.  More to the point, as Kurzweil has pointed out, tech is changing exponentially and it's gotten to the point where it's really hard to miss.

On the way to the airport

I was able to check in to my seat via the Delta app that put a notification on my screen while in my Tesla on auto-pilot.  Just a couple of clicks and I was good to go.

At the airport

I have TSA PRE and the new clear program which is supposedly (but not really) faster than TSA Pre.  I was through security faster than before 9/11.   The only hic-up, was that the monorail was down to the gate which meant hoofing half a mile.   Reminded me that most rail advocates probably don't use much rail.  Rail was a great tech in the 19th century...

I sit down near the terminal and every chair has its own little iPad type device for ordering food and drink.  Almost no one uses them now, they're already outdated because their iPhone or Android device "has an app" that's easier.

Under the covers, thanks to computer aided data analysis, what are in airports now are much nicer and useful.  They know what works in airports (coffee ships, mid to high end restaurants, shoulder massage) and what doesn't (fast food, general goods).  And tech has largely eliminated book stores (sigh).  The result is that the airports I visit are generally quite pleasant.

Moreover, the better experience means lower stress.  If Brad from 1989 were to time travel to 2019, the first thing I'd notice is how much happier people are.  The general smoothness of how air transportation works now (relatively speaking) means a lot less stressed people.  The only really archaic thing left are the &#$%@ drivers licenses or other physical ID we still have to mess with and of course the normal TSA experience (mainly the damn shoe thing).  But the end result is that people tend to be pretty relaxed (relatively).

On the plane

Many of the chairs have displays on the back.  Already outdated.  They're the display of last resort because everyone has a handheld or some kind.  Which reminds me, I can't find my Kindle.  

Planes typically have WiFi, it's not free but eliminates much of the boredom of long flights.  I use to pour through PC Gamer, PC Magazine, PC World, Macworld, etc. from start to end on these flights.  And even that was a big step up from the early 80s and 70s where I'd lug Infoworld with me in the late 80s.  I still miss reading Nick Petreley's articles.

But it's not just that it's improved, it's that the rate of improvement is accelerating.   

What are some of the things you've noticed changing that seems to be changing even more rapidly now?