Visionaries In Our Lifetime

Since the 50’s our country has led the way in technological advances the world has adopted. There has been the television, computer, cell phone, and who could forget the internet. Thank you Al Gore!

This leap in technological adaptations has morphed luxuries into necessities. Can you imagine in the 70’s needing anything but a calculator and a rotary phone? Now, we need the computer to access limitless data so that information can be realized in the blink of an eye.

When I was growing up the typewriter was the only way to produce a (legible) report for school. Then they introduced typewriter paper that you could erase mistakes. When I was done it looked like someone had physically assaulted the paper. There were so many visible eraser marks it looked like a tattoo gone horribly wrong. This led to me taking a typewriter class so that my mistakes could potentially be cut in half or visibly eradicated. I barely escaped that class with a passing mark. You’d think that playing the violin would help my fingers glide across the keys like Chic Corea or McCoy Tyner performing rippling signature runs with harmonic brilliance. That was not the case!

Other technological advances in security, headphones, and Alexa where you can ask a question or request a song… is mind blowing. The visionaries that have produced these technological advances stand on the threshold of a precipice that teeters on the edge of societal evolution.

Here is a short list of some of those innovations:

The Internet (1990)

Photoshop (1990)

Portable GPS (1990)

Caller ID (1990)

Cloning (1996)

Email and text messaging (1992)

Netflix (1997)

Drones (1994)

I Pad (2010)

Google (2011)

Amazon Alexa (2014)

If you put all the innovators/visionaries side by side (the who’s who of technological advances) the one name that stands out from the rest is Robert Elliot Khan an American electrical engineer who along with Vint Cerf first proposed the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol, the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the internet.

In the course of IT history certain men have breathed life into groundbreaking technologies that most users now take for granted. In addition to Robert Khan here is a list of perhaps a more obscure group of innovators/visionaries in the last three decades that have produced innovations we now take for granted:

Douglas Engelbart – Inventor of the mouse

Norman Abramson – Inventor of the first wireless local area network (in Hawaii)

Jack Nilles – Creator of the “work from home” Telework model adapted by millions of businesses around the world.

Marty Cooper – Inventor of the Motorola Dyna TAC mobile phone that has led to the smart phone

Gerald A. Lawson – Created the first cartridge-based video game system

Nathaniel Borenstien – Inventor of the e-mail attachment

Robert Metcalfe – Inventor of the ethernet transmitting data at a much higher bandwidth and speed

Tim Berners- Lee – Inventor of the World Wide Web to communicate with one another instantly by computer.

Dr. Fujio Masuoka – Inventor of Flash memory. Flash memory now accounts for 95 percent of the blank storage media market.

Ken Thompson – King of the operating system technology. All operating systems are built on this mans legacy.

Normally we would think of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others that have paved the way through technology to affect the way we learn, produce, and purchase. The above list are the silent giants that have brought us to this point of technological adaptivity.

Perhaps there will be an innovator that re-connects humanity through the application of contact. It seems that without contact (which invigorates our souls) we are left without the compassion that is necessary to form the communities that strengthen our family units as a basis for our inner resolve.

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