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    • One metric defines what I believe is the greatest human achievement over the last 75 years; an increased human lifespan.

      In 1943 and in the U.S., the average lifespan was around 63 years. (Life expectancy in the USA, 1900-98) As of early 2018 the average US life expectancy is projected to be an average of 78.7 years, mostly due to medical advances (especially infant-through-teen health), healthier heating systems, proliferation of air conditioners, safer work and home conditions, transportation safety improvements and disaster response systems. A 16 year improvement over 75 years time is pretty astonishing, although the last two years shows America slipping backwards for a number of reasons.

      Of course, an increasing lifespan along with increasing child births, resulting in a population explosion, is stressing both our habitat and our economy.

    • The transistor improved vacuum tubes by serveral orders of magnitude, putting humanity in the Moore curve and enabling the digitization of the world and the beginning of the information age. The internet exists thanks to the transistor (in fact, around the time the transistor was invented, someone at Bell Labs made the prediction something like the internet would be developed). The transistor without the internet would still put information on the hands of billions, just far less conveniently.

    • Don't you think the innovations that have led to what the internet is today go way beyond the transistor? It's a beautiful medley of infrastructure, organizations, hardware, and software that makes it so compelling.

      I hear what you're saying about the transistor. It made it all possible. But even before the inception of the transistor, the telegraph and telephone paved the way for a connected world.

    • You said it yourself: the internet is a beautiful medley of technologies and human organizations. You can say the same thing about the smartphone. It too is a beautiful medley of materials science, MEMS sensors, microchips, service providers and regulatory bodies. Is the smartphone a revolution? Sure, its just not in the same league as the steam engine and printing press.

      When Brattain, Shockley, Bardeen and others discovered that some pure metals, when seeded with impurities and stacked in a certain way could direct the flow of electrons given another current... that is a revolution (and a Nobel Prize).