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The Progress We Don't See



We humans are often oblivious to the progress that is happening around us. This is because progress often happens slowly, over time, and without our direct attention.


The skyline of our neighborhoods is experiencing a subtle transformation as the telecom industry adopts more innovative and less obtrusive methods to deliver services. A key shift in this evolution is the transition from traditional telephone poles and overhead wires to underground cables for telephone and internet services. For decades, the telephone pole and wire model served as the backbone of communication infrastructure. They were an economical solution to transmit signals over long distances and easy to install. However, this model came with a few major drawbacks, including vulnerability to weather conditions, aesthetic concerns, and maintenance issues.


Today, as communities aim for cleaner skylines and more resilient infrastructure, service providers are increasingly turning to underground cabling systems. These networks, buried beneath the surface, offer a more secure and reliable solution for delivering telephone and internet services. Underground cables are impervious to the disruptive impact of harsh weather, a critical factor considering the increased incidence of severe weather events due to climate change. By being shielded from these environmental conditions, these cables ensure a more consistent service and reduced downtime.


Another example of this is the way we consume music. In the past, we listened to music on cassette tapes and CDs. But over time, these formats have been replaced by digital music, such as MP3s and streaming services. This change has happened so gradually that many people are not even aware of it.

There are many other examples of progress that we don't see. For example, the way we get our news has changed from newspapers and TV to online sources. The way we shop has changed from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers. And the way we travel has changed from cars and airplanes to self-driving cars and high-speed trains.

So, what are some things that we are currently unaware of that are being replaced? Here are a few possibilities:

  • The physical dollar. As digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, become more popular, the physical dollar will eventually become obsolete.

  • Paper maps. As GPS navigation became more widespread, paper maps have become a thing of the past.

  • Traditional classrooms. As online learning becomes more popular, traditional classrooms may eventually become obsolete.

  • Physical libraries. As e-books and audiobooks become more popular, physical libraries may eventually become less used.

Where can you move your attention to?

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Written by Eric White

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