Recently, I stumbled upon a list of seven inventions from the Gilded Age that transformed the world, and it reminded me of an article I wrote twelve years ago based on Mark Steyn’s book, After America. In it, he encouraged us to imagine what it would be like to bring our great-grandfather living in the late 19th century to an ordinary American home in 1950. The response would be astonishment as he would see a home filled with mechanical contraptions. A massive machine in the kitchen, keeping food fresh and cold, and an orchestra playing from a small box on the countertop. He’d look out the window and see metal conveyances zooming down the street at incredible speeds, enclosed with doors and windows – cars without horses or horse-drawn carriages.
Now imagine sending someone from 1950 to our world today. They might be disappointed as not much has changed. While we have computers and smartphones, they might expect more changes than they find. Most of the remarkable advances took place a century ago.
Physics and politics are two reasons why our technology reached a plateau. We dream of flying cars, time machines, and teleporting devices, but there are physical limits that prevent them from being created. However, politics and especially bureaucratic regulations make it difficult for inventors and entrepreneurs to innovate and bring their ideas to life. It is time for us to roll back government interference that stifles imagination and creativity in order to continue pushing technological boundaries forward.