A bicycle for our minds, or a bullet?

Illustration: Michael Mucci It took 75 years for the telephone to reach a threshold of 50 million users. Radio took 38 years, television 13, the internet just four. The Angry Birds Space gaming app reached 50 million users in 35 days. This is one of those internet memes that’s gained such widespread credence, it was even quoted by two esteemed Oxford University economists in an earnest 100-page Future of Innovation and Employment report for financial giant Citigroup in February.  It joins a class of hyperbole about digital technology that Forbes magazine dabbled in this year, reporting the WhatsApp instant messaging service had gained more followers in six years – 700 million and counting – than Christianity did in 19 centuries. While the metrics of these comparisons are debatable, they do illustrate how quickly technological innovation is being shared in…


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