People and Things

Things are in the saddle, and ride mankind

This is the title of a naked man riding a naked horse in one of London’s most important parks. The title was attributed to Emerson.

The things Emerson had in mind were the machines of Industrialization – the Steam Engine that powered the Railroads and the Steamships. But, more importantly, their impact on of the people of the age. An impact that was overwhelming – that he did not fully appreciate himself – since they were just beginning to develop in his lifetime. That would result in huge differences in wealth later in the 19th century. And the dominance of some ambitious, but stupid people.

In my lifetime, this resulted in Manufacturing and Transportation – making things, and moving them around. The American factories that did this manufacturing, are now vacant and idle.

This was followed by another invention – the automobile, with its internal combustion engine and pneumatic tires. This was even more important, because anyone could drive his own, anywhere he pleased. (On the public roads that were built to serve it.)

But, once again, this was followed by the another invention – the Network – Radio and Television. And then the Computer networks – the Internet and the Cellular.

The Computer networks were built of smart things – that were operated by software – and required smart people to make and update them.

We now have a mix of smart people and stupid people. And it is too soon to predict what this mixture will result in.

I struggle to understand this every day – and I have plenty of smart people trying to help me with this. I just downloaded another free book today.

I can only notice the obvious – the creativity there is exploding. And this is bound to have some important results.


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