“I’ve had enough,” said Simon the other day in a lockdown Zoom chat. “I just want things to stop for a while.”
“God I miss the 1990s,” he added.
“It’s true,” I said. “Nothing happened in the 1990s.”
“Maybe the PlayStation.”
Like a lot of people, I’ve got the sense the world has been going slightly crazy in the past few years.
The financial crisis. A bear market. Online warfare. Trump. Brexit. Russian bots. A bear market, again. A whipsaw rally.
A virus that flies commercial. Around the world in a month, not a year. A horror story you see coming, between the photos of your aunt’s cat on your social media feed.
I realised I’ve been thinking about this all wrong.
This isn’t an overwhelming number of things happening.
It’s all the same thing happening.
It’s exactly what my friend Simon says. The world is speeding up.
It took over 500 years to go from Gutenberg’s printing press to IBM’s electric typewriter.
It took 25 years to go from the electric typewriter to the Compaq desktop PC.
15 years from there to the Imac. Ten years from iMac to iPhone.
Five years from mobile phone calls to Facebook to WhatsApp.
People aren’t shouting at each other on Twitter because they have gotten angrier.
They’re shouting on Twitter because it exists, and before it didn’t.
People don’t disagree with you because they know better.
Everyone disagrees because nobody is sure of anything.
The government lied. Wall Street lied. The news lied. Facebook lied. Now everything might be a lie.
And faster and faster it goes.
This is how we make way for the singularity.
Not with a bang. Not a whimper.