A few things about me

INVENTIONS (anything new?)

Lack of sleep and pregnancy hormones had me in an irritable mood last night and I was looking for a fight. Big Al, being the wise man that he is (see I do know how to choose them) did not indulge me. I got even more irritated when he refused to agree whole heartedly with me on the following issue.

I put it to him that I did not think (purely subjective point of reasoning) that there were any BRAND NEW INVENTIONS since the 1970s. I continued that most of the inventions had been created between 1800s and 1970s and anything there after has simply been a refinement of an old invention. (bar developments in the medical field). The discovery/invention of electricity heralded most inventions and I am of the opinion that there is really not much left to invent. The time span stated earlier was the period of great human invention.

Big Al, simply smiled (in a manner that said he did not really agree with me, but was not going to argue with me given my mood!). I later told him that I could see he did not believe me, but because I am a far superior being, I chose not to labour the point and let him go on being dumb :-).

So here is my question ladies and gents. Have there been any new revolutionary inventions in the last 20 years. I think not. (I am taking a risk by displaying my ignorance, but at least I am willing to learn). For example, I think the last big invention was the DISC which has now replaced video and music tapes…what do you all think.

Are there any new inventions out there these days, or are most of them just refinements of previously existing things. For example, the Dyson Hoover machine is not an invention, it is simply a refinement of a technology. DVD is a refinement of Discs, the mach 5 gillet shaving blade is a refinement of the orginal single shaving blade, etc etc…..


Comments on: "INVENTIONS (anything new?)" (8)

  1. Half 'n' Half said:

    I think you were right!

    not an invention but re-invention:
    the alarm that goes off then runs to hide so that you have to wake up and chase it to shut it up!

  2. Mrembo, not a lot of new inventions as you say, just a lot of modifications.
    The only rush during the past three decades is patenting, especially of unoriginal and often stolen ideas. Mostly traditional knowledge. This trend is an indication of the dearth of new ideas.

    Hope you are doing great!

  3. If we followed the strict meaning of an invention, then your assertion would fall in the same category as that of Charles Duell, Head of the US patent office who in 1899 stated with a lot of conviction that “everything that can be invented has been invented”. The great inventions of the past such as the wheel, gunpowder, fire, the automobile, the boat and the airplane were more about asserting man’s dominance over his environment. Inventions that came later look more like enhancing man’s proficiency and efficiency – hence the cellphone, the internet, the self-contained artificial heart, Viagra, new business models, the personal computer etc. are more trend-related and not wholly inter-generational as would be the case with earlier ones. Being an internet junkie, entrepreneur and believer in continuous improvement, I don’t really agree with you on this one.

  4. Bollocks! There have been loads of inventions after the 70s! What about laser surgery to correct poor eye sight? There was nothing close or near it in the 1970s. Each year there are thousands of patents taken out for new inventions of course not all of them are useful but the fact reamains they are new and never existed before.
    So basically you are wrong on this one, humanity is constantly progressing.

  5. mwariwadavid said:

    What of communication of cell phones via gsm technology? Extended further to wireless communication?

  6. Surambaya, I was waiting for someone to throw that quote at me. Big Al threw that in my face and I was like… nah! I still ain’t buying it.

    Aco:–If you read carefully, you will note that I said, “bar the medical field”.So you are on the money with laser technology. I acknowledge that in medical technology there have been loads of inventions… the rest in my humble opinion are still “re-inventions” or refinements of old technology.

    Mwariwadavid:— Is that really an invention or refinement… of an old technology. Could the cell phone exist without the landline?? I don’t know….but willing to concede given that one uses copper lines or fiber optics and the other is wireless blah (out of my depth here)

  7. I really like the way you think which in many ways mirrors my style of probing things which I noticed a bunch of pple with one track minds have a problems with.

    The main issue I have with inventions that have changed very little is the Tv, cooker, iron(box), radio…well, thankfully it’s being replaced by mp3 which are being replaced by iPods which are being replaced by Nanos(minus the Ipod name,lol!) etc.

    Housing hasn’t changed much for makind lives in more or less the same kind of structures we did 200 yrs ago..with limited innovation.

    But I agree with most folks above about the new innovations…while I also side with you regarding the few real inventions.

    My take…? Great & mind blowing innovations of what’s already been there the past 50-70yrs but not much newness in the field.

  8. I am in awe of the depth of your conversations with Big Al. I think we, I mean Erik the Red and I have domesticated ourselves convesation are not so intellectual anymore. They are hysterically funny (which is the #1 one reason why I married him) but not so deep anymore… note to self: Bring back the deep stuff…
    You should not be sleeping at all now… you are either a mom or just about…

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