What Do You Mean We Brought Man To The Moon With Only 2MB Of Computing Power?
The computers that took humans to the moon, had less computing power than a modern toaster. But yet, brilliant men and women used those computers (with 64kb of memory) to guide astronauts across 356,000 km of space from the Earth to the Moon and return them safely. Now, I use my 32gb (32 million kilobytes) to store photos, music, apps and movies.
If they could fly people to the moon with, by what our standards would seem to be, limited resources, could I possibly make better use of the resources I have access too today?
We’re living in an age where we have access to so much, but yet, the average person is doing so little with it. What are we missing? When you think about it, people are walking around with more computing power in their pocket than what took humanity to the moon. But we’re using it to Snap, Tweet, Like, Unlike, Watch, Listen and DM. And this is not to say that everyone needs to be software engineers, but with access to so much what are we doing with it? With how advanced technology has become and how easily accessible information is, could we be doing more to move civilization forward? I believe we could, but it has everything to do with mindset.
Think about it like this:
Imagine that this line graph depicts the progression of our species. Let’s say, the vertical axis represents human ingenuity and creativity. The horizontal axis represents resources; such as information, technology, equipment, software and the like. For arguments sake, let’s also say that at the points in which human ingenuity and resources intersect, we’ll call them “pockets of brilliance”. Think of the car, the plane, the elevator, the internet, agriculture, man landing on the moon etc. Those moments that propelled civilization forward, regardless of how commercialized they have become.
I would argue that, in many ways, our progression today is becoming more imbalanced. We are advancing leaps and bounds on the resources axis; virtual and augmented reality, self-driving cars, computers, google, artificial intelligence and more. However, the human ingenuity axis is trailing behind. Here’s why. As resources increase, things become easier or more convenient. (**Tangent Alert: An increase in resources translates to easier living because it has become more about selling to humanity than moving humanity forward. What better way to get you to purchase, than to make something that makes life a little easier.) The draw back is, as everything in life becomes more convenient, the less effort and human ingenuity I have to expend. As a result, the less human ingenuity I have to expend, the less “pockets of brilliance” I have. And I believe that is a problem.
I love technology! But I strongly believe that we need to change how we interact with it. As it infiltrates virtually every facet of our lives, we need to use it as a way to compliment our human ingenuity rather than supplement it. Around the time of the beginning phases of the Apollo Program, there was something called ‘human computers’working at NACA (later to become NASA). This was people doing a wide variety of calculations by hand. Very important calculations. The type of calculations that guided astronauts to the moon and back. Once the Bell Electronics Company introduced the first electronic computer, many of their roles switched to programming, which allowed them to take things to the next level. The ingenuity never dissipated. It was re channeled. They used resources to accomplish even greater things. But this is my fear. I believe, for the average person, our human ingenuity is dying. We’ve become so dependent on technology, and not in a good way. The amount we are using our ‘brainpower’ is becoming less with every new app or device that hits the market. We are looking at the abundance of resources and technology as a way to do less, when we should look at it as an opportunity to do more.
What if I packaged the level of brilliance it took to calculate for NASA, and applied that same level of brilliance to the programming of the electronic computers? What I’m saying is, the relationship between human ingenuity and resources should be one of a positive correlation, not negative. That is to say, as one increases, the other variable should increase in tandem. So, as we continue to make incredible progress with resources and technology, let us use our human ingenuity to do even greater things. Solve even great problems. Take us to even greater heights.
Just thinking out loud.to be limited resources, could I possibly do more to push the boundaries with the type of tech I use everyday? Could there possibly be another way to look at what I see as ‘limited resources’? We’re living in an age where we have access to so much, but yet, we still often feel like we don’t have enough to put a ding in the universe, as Steve Jobs would say. Always remember that creativity loves constraint. And perhaps what we see as “insufficient”, is actually more than enough but we just need to change our perspective.
Just thinking out loud.