Give it 100 Years

Mass adoption of the internal combustion engine is about a century old.

Think about what it did to the world in ten decades.  The entire structure of cities, suburbs, cultural enclaves, and population patterns are based around roads built for engine powered objects.  Modern maps have a vehicle-centric perspective, which shapes our mental models of our environment, time, and space.

Commutes are a thing. With them morning shows, podcasts, audiobooks, gas stations, fast food, and convenience stores. Road trips are a thing.  Diners, hotel chains, fireworks warehouses, scenic overlooks.

People who don’t live on water can own boats and tow them to lakes. People who live in cities can RV to the wilderness.

The entire retail industry as we know it is possible only with trucks and container cars.

Air travel exists, shrinking the globe, proliferating styles and ideas, and making one day business across countries possible.

Modern excavation needs no shovels, opening opportunity for projects of massive scale in no time with few workers.

The petroleum industry exists, accounts for large portions of GDP, and makes many people’s retirement accounts capable of providing a home in Florida.

Entire genres of food and film are based on engines and their outgrowths.

That’s just a top of the head start.  If you thought about it for five minutes, you could list twenty more radical transformations.

Now consider: The internet has only been widely adopted for a few decades.  Imagine what it will do given just 100 years?

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