Wednesday’s Big Idea
Today's Big Idea: Hypersonic Travel
The Internet "cult of now," as Big Think blogger Dominic Basulto describes it, is the only "measure of time that matters to the current Internet generation." In other words, the demand for instant gratification is influencing all of our online interactions. But what about our offline activities in the physical world?
Beyond digital gratification, we are demanding that everything be faster and more accessible. Technology has been stubbornly slow to keep up in some key areas. Consider energy. It's expensive, not to mention the fact that burning fossil fuels seems so completely backwards. We have amazing computing power in the palms of our hands, but the batteries don't last long enough.
Now let's consider transportation. While there are a lot of factors involved, let's compare the average commute today to what it was in, say, 1960. Sure, the roads are more crowded -- we've added some 70 million workers -- but the way we get to work hasn't changed much. If we look at flight travel, it gets even more depressing (do you remember when it was once fun to fly?).
Well, the truth is, you might not notice it, but there has actually been a great deal of innovation in the transportation sector. We have the technology to do things in a better way. It simply takes a long time to implement these new technologies in our transportation infrastructure. The same certainly goes for energy as well. Sorry, there will be no instant gratification, but the future still holds promise. Just consider the Navy's test flight of a hypersonic aircraft that promises a one hour flight time from London to New York.