That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented. It isn’t just that we’ve lived one technological revolution among many; it’s that our technological revolution is the big social revolution that we live with.
-- Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
Time and time again I've read, for years now, that the Internet is this great revolution, akin to bringing television into living rooms across the world. Nonsense. The Internet is the electricity.
For those of us that lived in a world post-cable-TV but pre-Internet, it's not too much of an effort to imagine a world before TV, or even before radio -- mainly because TV and movies have shown us just that, and our parents and grandparents have told us about it, whether we wanted to hear it or not.
Now, imagine living in a world without electricity. This is what our children will imagine (are already imagining) when we tell them we lived in a pre-Internet world. It'll be an inconceivable time, softened around the edges as time goes on. This is the revolution we find ourselves in the middle of, still going on, as miracle after miracle are invented as people realize what can be done with this shiny new thing.
To think... there I was not too long ago thinking about how old I would sound when I'd tell my kids that I was alive when the US decided the change the way their cash looked.