A different before and since.

Of course we're always being informed that the latest great invention that will change everything is upon us. Private automobiles can, for instance, probably make a good claim for being among the most pivotal inventions along these lines, and I've seen a well thought out argument for birth control pills as the world changing invention. Around the turn of the century, Edge hosted a special issue devoted to an examination of the most important invention of the past 2000 years. The responses, from a very impressive list of top-rank scientists and thinkers, were fascinating, and a great read, even the second time around. Even in this age of extreme hype, the internet certainly seems to be at least a finalist along these lines, but if I had to make a choice between it and other modern day inventions, I think I'd probably give a higher ranking to the cellular phone.

The internet may offer us access to a wealth of information, but (at least until mobile) this information was something that we met from a set venue. We had to gather our information at that venue and then prepare ourselves for using it - either where we were, or for "taking out". The cellular, on the other hand, established a new relationship between ourselves and our surroundings. It has erased our reliance on a "home base".

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