Technology has done some incredible things, especially in the past couple of decades, so it’s wild to imagine that someday, innovative new tools like ChatGPT will no longer be as cutting-edge as they might seem today. The reason is simple: most technologies today were once world-shattering and innovative, but with time they have become normalized.
The fact that the written word even exists can be credited to the innovations of ancient Mesopotamia. The same society also gave birth to the wheel, a tool that would revolutionize agriculture and transportation. And, yes, even math, the concept of numbers, had its roots in the cradle of civilization.
Even the mythologies of the time, including The Epic of Gilgamesh, show grand technologies that would be considered antiquated by today’s modern civilization, yet were remarkable at the time of writing. It is works of fiction like this which give rise to the imagination to pursue new and innovative technological advances, much like the artificial intelligence of today.
AI was also once a work of fiction, and its roots can be traced back to Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel Erewhon, in the section known as The Book of the Machines. In this novel, Butler examines several topics that we can see in today’s technological landscape, including Moore’s Law, which it predated by almost a century. The novel describes a rapidly advancing technology and artificial intelligence, and the machines managed to achieve some level of sentience.
So, it seems that at least two things are true:
The technology used by modern society has indeed been influenced by popular culture of the past, and for good reason. With imagination comes innovation and the desire to solve everyday problems of society. Just look to modern technology solutions in the business environment as a prime example. So many of the solutions available today that we take for granted were created to solve problems in the past—problems which still exist, but are no longer as difficult or unwieldy to solve as they once were due to the advent of technology.
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