Wednesday, February 7, 2018

“One of the most powerful influences for broadening human intelligence… has spread an even, highly developed civilization through the land… has unified the Nation.”

From an AT&T advertisement that ran in Scientific American. June 19th, 1909.

Even allowing for the inevitable hyperbole of ad copy, this is big talk, but it is highly indicative of its era. There was a widespread, perhaps even dominant belief among turn-of-the-century Americans that the generation of unprecedented technological progress they had just witnessed marked the beginning of a new age of civilization and perhaps even human evolution.
This was about the time that the idea of and unimaginable future coming at us with ever-increasing speed first took hold in the public consciousness. It was also perhaps the last time events justified the notion.

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