News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Progress Illustrated – Media Players


Prior to the year 2000 and except for a few early adopters of new technology, most peoples’ music collections could be found in stacks of CDs. Around the year 2000 many people began to store all of their CDs on their computer’s hard drive.

In 2003, the capacity of a hard drive was marketed by how much music it could store. The iPod became a phenomenon and moneymaker for Apple based on the sudden consumer demand to store their entire collection of music on a portable device about the size of a deck of cards.

This year, hard drives are being advertised by how much video they can store. This marketing has lately expanded to include how much high-definition video a device can store. New portable devices such as Sony’s HMP-A1 promise video playback in addition to music playback.

Around 2007, a device the size of a deck of cards will store several hours worth of HD video, your entire music collection, and, if the screen resolution is high enough, your entire library of books, magazines, and photographs. It will allow you to playback video, audio, text, and images on the device itself, or on televisions, stereos, monitors, car radios, printers, or any output device that can be connected to it.

Around 2010, the first device to record a 360-degree sphere of your life in full ultra-high definition and surround-sound detail, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of your life, will become available.

While you may not personally have any of these devices today, at some point you will, due to cost, convenience, or lack of availability of outmoded devices. All this change has and will happen in just the first decade of the 21st century. Can anyone still argue that progress is not accelerating?

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