“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
In addition, a thought process of betterment and an obsession for thinking (anything) new has been driving innovations (inventions and discoveries). I guess that made some of the great people think and vision (of necessities) decades and centuries ahead in time.
To start with, types of inventions – from a perspective of user experience:
- Direct (computer, car etc.).
- Indirect (zero, java etc.)
From an innovator’s point of view:
- A final product or theory
- A unit/sub-theory that form a base and/or combinations of such units lead to a product or a complete postulation
- A theory that proves the existing is wrong (always need not show a viable solution)
My view: all of them have the same impact on the target. Every minute put in by every inventor has some impact. Some are realized sooner and some later. I don’t think any invention was an accident – after a series of unsuccessful attempts in their long list of possibilities, one of the less expected option may have given most sought results.
It’s a known fact that ‘the focus’ on science & technology has never been better in the known history (than in the 20th century). In spite of that, we did not witness many significant inventions in the past 60-80 years – innovations that change the way we live, (as mentioned earlier) with an exception to certain enhancements. This point raises a series of unanswered questions.
- Aren’t there any significant inventions recently?
- If they do, aren’t we ready to implement them?
- Are we underestimating their impact?
and so on……..
Isn’t it weird that we aren’t looking at those inventions completely (their multi-dimensional, cross-platform application)? This question rises only if we come out of the denial and agree that we’ve the technology TODAY (at least the theoretical formulation) that comes into use only after 20-50 years.
My answer would be, NO, I guess! It’s been historical. People (who has the power and resources to promote/direct the technology) may not have completely estimated the actual impact of the innovations centuries (and decades in some cases) before us.
Just a few examples of innovations that took so long it took to make the most out of:
3. ‘Wireless communication’
It’s not always surprising that some (significant) innovations (inventions) are ignored. Just a quick note about the impact, the engineering based on which we built our lives TODAY was not invented today or yesterday. It was all formulated hundreds of years ago. We’re seeing just improvisations (if any) in the past few decades. (Some) Innovations of today that doesn’t seem any (or less) important for the day will prove to be extremely important in future. It’s not always surprising that some (significant) innovations are ignored. If not innovations, their impact is ignored.
One of the most significant discoveries of 21st century would be ‘a new way of social networking’. Social networking that we enjoy today has been offering unimaginable things! A small example, I didn’t know a way to contact or get in touch with an old friend ten years ago without having an email or phone number. Internet based Social networking is as huge as an alternate world for several people. Three reasons:
- It gives multiple opportunities for everyone to establish himself or herself (personally and professionally explicitly maintaining the much needed exclusivity) better and better. Lot of times this can mislead or misinform too – subject to the individual.
- Ease in connectivity with an individual that was unimaginable in the past.
- Social media. This is fast growing to be the most powerful source of information and news.
Social networking is fast growing and is pushing us toward a behavioral change; The way we behave and communicate with friends (physical and virtual), spend time and many more.
Facebook took the idea of networking through Internet (with an exclusivity and controllability to the way a person (profile) is displayed) and successfully put it in the next level, or least illustrated the impact of social networking through Internet. Facebook could be one of those 2 or 3 ideas that touched a billion people in few years of its evolution. Virtually, Facebook has shown the impact of ‘a good idea’ on this world. Facebook stands as a proof of concept that the “world is always willing to accept a great idea and the impact of the such idea can be as huge as making a billion people or even more believe in it”. Facebook is just a STARTING point in the entire social networking. We will see its impact growing much faster in future.
As a result to the overwhelming usage of social networking, there is a rise in sense of volunteering among people; access to trillions of data points those researchers and businesses have been dreaming (to possess for years) to analyze; Now were getting live traffic, safety, and emergency information through social networking; It’s the fastest and one of the most powerful tools to impress people and win the elections.
In contrary to the above arguments (need for enhancements), some innovators perfected their inventions so that even after decades and centuries we use the same technology without any (or little in some cases) modifications. To me the first to standout are Nikola Tesla’s (holds about 110 US Patents) inventions. The modern electrical engineering was designed and built to perfection by him. 1880-1910 is the most happening period for Electrical engineering.
- AC Current
- Electric motor
- Fluorescent bulb
- Remote Control
- Electro magnetic induction
I cannot imagine TODAY without some of these inventions:
- Rotating electric machines (motors, generators etc.)
- pi = 3.141. To understand its importance of pi, try calculating area of a circle with just radius.
- Wireless communication
- Newton’s laws
- Social Networking
- Fourier transform
- Euler’s principle
- Schrodinger’s Equations
- Quantum mechanics
- Einstein’s theory of relativity
- Projection and display technology
Multi-dimensional/Cross-platform application/utilization of existing research/technologies can significantly enhance our today! Missing this important step would definitely not make our lives miserable but would make us people who missed hundreds of opportunities to live in better, safe, healthy and advanced TODAY. We should look into current innovations NOW.
Resect research! Respect innovations! Respect inventors!