Me, programs, examinations and coursework.

Speed, Speed, and Technology

I was flicking through my bookshelf the other day and found a 2002-published revision guide on Information and Communication Technology. This was basically the study of computers, and it surprises me how back then, the average commercial internet connection was dial-up on 128kb/s — and that’s if you were pretty well off.

Imagine surviving on 128kb/s now. I wouldn’t even have the patience to sit down and write this post.

But it causes me to think about the speed at which technology has progressed. The first computer-like programmable device, depending on how you define it, was invented in about the 1800s. Then came the 1900s. The turn of the century wasn’t just the turn from the 20th century into the 21st — it was a stepping into the new world of information.

And things have just been spiralling from there. In 2002, there were no multi-core computers available, except perhaps in laboratories. Nobody in the 1980s dared to dream that one day, there would be a network of computers across the world that were permanently connected, transferring 179.808 exabytes of data a year. The idea of having an internet connection on the go — with 3G, and now 4G networks — was practically laughable. But we’ve done it. And we’re about to do it again.

It’s not only our traffic volume that has increased exponentially. The speeds of our technology have increased as well. From 128kb/s to the 54Mb/s I have now. With this kind of speed, website designers are able to provide more and more wide services. Who knows? The next thing is, web pages will be distributed in 3D. Or even material could be sent across the internet. Maybe the next generation computer virus isn’t programming, it’s biological. It’s a biological virus that spreads across the internet.

Is our rate of technological advancing speeding up as our technological speeds increase? And who, if anyone, will impose the speed limit? Or shall we accelerate too fast, and, without anything to stop us, crash at phenomenal speeds at the next curve in the road?

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