Lots of people are declaring the end of the current tech cycle. And others are expressing their disappointment with the way it contributed to society. But I think these views are too near-sighted and unfairly malign technology’s incredible contributions in the last 10 years.
Every time I read something about the evils of new technology I think about this Louis CK clip talking about how the world has become so amazing and how everyone is pissed off about it. For some perspective, here’s how “disappointing” this tech cycle was:
- The iPhone was introduced just NINE years ago. This device puts a camera, computer, browser, phone, GPS, flash light, calculator, clock, music player, recorder, library and a billion other things in YOUR POCKET. Do you know how amazing that is? If this cycle had ONLY produced the smartphone it would have been a SMASHING success. But no, this tech cycle also produced:
- Cars that drive themselves.
- Rockets that go into space and land by themselves.
- Internet virtually anywhere.
- 3D printing.
- Cloud data storage.
- Electric cars.
- Touch screen technology.
- Machine learning.
- Advanced robotics.
- Social networks. Yes, I know some people don’t think these technologies contribute all that positively to society, but I think there’s an argument to be made that there’s nothing more powerful than the ability to increase the efficiency with which humans interact. Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc are unbelievably powerful information sources and social interaction tools that only improve the way we all interact and improve the world around us.
- Renewable energy advancements that are legitimately threatening to kill one of the most powerful industries of the last 200 years – oil and gas.
- Payment processing technologies that threaten to kill one of the most powerful industries of the last 500 years – banking.
- A functional AIDS cure and countless other incredible medical advancements.
I’ve missed so much stuff here, but the reality is that technology has made the world infinitely better in the last 10 years. This cycle was a smashing success and the good news is that it’s all part of one huge secular cycle that is going to only get more exciting. In fact, it’s changing so rapidly that I don’t even think our brains can process how big (and how positive) the impact is which is why I suspect it scares the crap out of so many people. I have no doubt that the next cycle is going to be incredible. But that’s only because I am lucky enough to be living through an incredible secular tech cycle that is changing the world in positive ways that are hard to grasp.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.