I turn 45 this month and I am glad to be the age that I am. In those four and a half decades I’ve been amazed to observe staggering changes in the world. Although technology will continue to advance rapidly, and today’s children will see many changes in their lifetimes, the world may not again change in such a fundamental way. I say that because we have crossed a very significant line: the digital line, which has enabled an unprecedented level of interconnectedness.
The next leap will be to a “firmament of all knowledge” that will provide something approaching telepathy. That may be some decades off, and catastrophe could intervene to prevent it. So it’s possible that the digital line will be the last really major techno-social line we will cross for a very long time.
Since 1963 we’ve gone from…
- 8-tracks, LPs, and cassettes to CDs, MP3s, iTunes, and Bittorrent (i.e. analog to digital)
- Cold War, the American Century, and American untouchability to a borderless Europe, 9-11, and American decline
- Nixon, Humphrey, and McGovern to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney
- Moon landings and oil rigs to nanotechnology and spooky action at a distance
And in the month that I turn 45, I am setting a personal record for playing gigs with the most different bands ever in one month: five. How we get recorded music may have changed, but people still want to play it live and hear it live. I suspect live music will remain a fairly recession-proof business. No matter how high the seas rise.