In his November 2001 essay "The Way Ahead," the political economist Peter Drucker said this about the third industrial revolution, which began the information age in which we now live:
Almost everybody is sure of two things about it: first, that it is proceeding with unprecedented speed; and second, that its effects will be more radical than anything that has gone before. Wrong, and wrong again."
Its speed and impact, he said, "uncannily resembles" that of the two industrial revolutions that went before. The first began with the improved steam engine in 1776, but it didn't change the world until the invention of the railroad in 1829. The second began with the electric generator in 1831, but it didn't hit hard until the development of the telegraph and steel rails in the late 1850s. Similarly, the third began with the computer in the mid-1940s, but its impact really landed when internet usage started to spread half a decade later.
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