The world changed dramatically on June 29, 2007. That’s the day when the iPhone first became available to the public.
In the 11 years since, more than 8.5 billion smartphones of all makes and models have been sold worldwide. Smartphone technology has allowed billions of people to enter and participate in a new, cybernetic, and ever more complex and rapid relationship with the world.
Humans have been tumbling headlong into this new digital frontier for a quarter century—since the World Wide Web went public. Until recently, that digital frontier followed Moore’s law, which states that computing power doubles every two years on average. With artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, and other mind-blowing developments, our technological world gets ever more interesting, changes ever faster, and, at least from my archaeological perspective, becomes ever more daunting. The rapidity of technological change, and by extension our current relationship to time, is undeniably unusual when viewed against the long evolutionary history of our species.
To illustrate what I mean, we can examine the rate of technological change across the epic sweep of humanity, from the moment we first appeared as a species in Africa until today. In so doing, we can gain a better understanding of the relationship between time, technology, and humans. [Continue reading…]