| Jul 26, 2021

Technology Then Vs. Now – A Look at How Far We’ve Come

For the past few decades, technology has been a major part of our daily lives. Now, however, we are seeing huge growth, specifically in the area of artificial intelligence, as technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented, rapid pace.
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By Par Chadha |

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My first memorable experience with technology was in the 1970s in India, and it was mind-bending: I entered an air-conditioned room housing an IBM mainframe, and my entrance caused the temperature to rise enough for shutdown to kick in. I was fascinated – and I was hooked.

A career that began in software and hardware design opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities technology would unlock. I was given an opportunity in the field early on and wanted to apply myself to the job as much as possible. I had an itch to innovate and live on the cutting edge of what was happening. As a result, I’ve been at the forefront of the many advances in technology over time – and I’ve witnessed a lot of change since those early days.

Materials and Math

Back then – and even today – materials and math led the way. What could you create or discover, and what problems could you solve? These two things were the key to progress, especially if you could keep them aligned. Developments in both areas were critical.

In many ways, foundations for technology have become bigger, stronger, and more understood by the masses. Today, we’re beyond the visions of AI and other technologies conceived in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” We have a war machine that is beginning to look more and more like the weapons covered in “Mahabharata,” one of the oldest and greatest epics ever written. Things that were once mythical have started to skirt reality. This is a good indicator of what is to come.

Yet in some ways, not much has changed. We’re still questing after materials and math, though our way of doing so has become much better, faster, and more exciting. We create better innovations when our materials and math are aligned, but even with all our advancements today, they are not always synchronized, causing spurts of growth and periods of slowness. This has always been the wonderful cycle of technology.


The Growth of Today

It is beautiful to think about how we now dance to music streams from Spotify on Sonos speakers powered by technology and don’t miss the popular record label His Master’s Voice or the record players of an era bygone. We do not even remember RCA, the company that commercialized the delivery of TV content over cable. We have moved on from many aspects of the old tech world. 

Have you ever taken a trip to an ancient city or old ruins? It’s fascinating to visit these places and remember our ancestors used a sun clock. Now, I use an Apple Watch, and it can monitor me while I sleep. Only a few decades ago, we exchanged letters written on paper. Now, we email, or better yet, we send text messages riddled with emojis. There are powerful machines today that read my brain waves and play tunes to manage my mood. Some machines are now even able to edit genes. We are expanding, building, adapting, and adopting at an unprecedented rate. 

Like it always has, technology continues to play into, touch, and engulf our daily lives. Now, however, we are seeing huge growth specifically in the area of artificial intelligence and its everyday use. It is becoming a more prominent part of our business, work, and home lives. We trust AI to handle so many personal aspects of our day, from Ring doorbells that help us determine whether our visitors are trustworthy to Siri, the virtual personal assistant to millions of people. 

You know things are getting serious when technology is trusted with something as precious as our money. Technology’s hold on the world is evidenced by the embrace of bitcoin. Many people likely never thought they would see the day when cryptocurrency would replace the almighty dollar. The industry is still in its infancy, but it will grow at mind-blowing speeds.

Technology is leading the way even on our roads. Self-driving cars can now help manage traffic, freeing up commuters’ time and reducing their encounters with the frustrating inconvenience. We can do some amazing things with the power of AI.

More recently, tools like the ones we have deployed at my companies, powered by AI, are creating a new class of document and data processing. Using AI, we can recognize documents by industry and process data using a combination of neural networks, industry, and customer rules. For the first time, we have processed a class of healthcare images with zero-touch AI without sacrificing quality. Breakthroughs and transformations are coming to every industry. 

And this is just the beginning. 

Looking Forward

The future of technology’s influence on our physical health is a bright one: Our quality of life will only continue to improve, and we will be able to spend more of our finite time living life rather than fighting for it. It is mind-blowing to think that “Beam me up, Scotty!” might find its way to the real world.

When it comes to the ever-increasing advancements in technology, we ought to have a healthy amount of reverence and honor for what we’re undertaking. History is a great place to learn about the future, and we shouldn’t neglect that. Remember the auto industry in Detroit that began in 1899 and compare it to Tesla, a company likely more valuable than all the Detroit-based auto companies combined, if not all the auto companies in the world. The difference is vast, and to some, it’s frightening how far we’ve come in a relatively short amount of time. Personally, I embrace innovation and evolution, and I believe in the saying, “If it does not kill you, it will make you stronger” and the quote by Andy Grove, “Only the paranoid survive.”

Par Chadha
Executive Author

Founder, CEO and CIO, HGM Fund

Par Chadha is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer of HGM, a family office. He also serves as Chairman of Exela Technologies and is co-founder and owner of Rule 14. view profile


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