Because of computer technology, progress that normally took centuries to evolve is now increasing exponentially. In other words, things that used to take forever to be invented now take only a few short years to come into being.
How many thousands of years did it take for us to get from the invention of the wheel to the gas turbine engine and then finally to the computer?
The first computer (the size of an entire room) was only invented about 70 years ago, and look where we are today with circuit boards and chip technology.
And compare the big clumsy cell phones of the '80s to what we have available now. Within less than three short decades, technology has come up with a cell phone that is not only much more than a phone, but can take photos of higher quality than the super-expensive 1977 cameras Hollywood used to make "Star Wars."
Whether you call it progress or regress, it's happening faster than any of us can comprehend and we really have no choice but to just go with it... or move to Greenland.
Things are moving so quickly that, like it or not, within your lifetime, people may be walking around with a tiny chip inserted in them that will allow them to brain-Google (or whatever they will call the search engines of the near future).
People might then be divided into two classes: those "with" (the chip) and those "without." They will sit at different tables at restaurants, and for obvious reasons. Why would anyone who can find the answer to "What is the capital of Missouri?" within a nano-second want to sit around and wait for someone to Google it on their smartphone--or even worse--wait until they got home to look it up on their laptop? Very different conversations going on at very different speeds at very different and at very separate tables.
If you have decided to "throw out the TV" and are still holding off on buying a computer and engaging in all that email and "texting stuff," you'll never know that you missed your invite to the neighbors' Academy Award party a few months ago. They didn't have time to phone everyone separately, so they simply emailed and texted them.
Don't kill the messenger. I'm just sayin' things are changing awfully fast--and they are going to change even faster tomorrow.
This opinion column is written by Charles Laquidara, who has lived on Maui for over 11 years. He worked at WBCN radio in Boston for 30 years and is occasionally heard on Mana'o Radio. Email firstname.lastname@example.org