“The Eagle has landed,” and fifty years ago mankind had accomplished the heretofore seemingly impossible.  Two men on the moon became a game changer and not in just the way most believe.

Yes, technology advancement owes much to these early space pioneers traceable to the 1950s; realistically a long process going back much further.  Aerospace led innovation has ‘bled’ into all aspects of our 21st Century life.

The challenge going forward—what is the next ‘small step that will lead to one giant leap.’  Return to the moon or even humans on Mars is not the next step for humankind in this writer’s opinion.  It seems that technology can readily enable those milestones; it is just a matter of spending and will power.

As the astronauts on the moon looked back at earth, they saw our ‘blue marble;’ tiny in the cosmos.  The place we all call home is just a spec of dust in the overall physical universe—whose bounds (if they exist) have not yet been discovered.

Explorers have always pushed the limits of the known.  Whether sailing towards the end of a ‘flat’ earth or sending robots out of the solar system (Voyagers I & II), learning about the unknown, albeit sometimes terrifying is integral to the human condition.

In 1969, the information age was in its infancy.  One can make the case that the modern computing era began with the hypothetical Turing Machine in 1936.[i]  However, computational power was centralized and only available to the very few.

As a college senior majoring in physics (1969-70), I was one of a handful who had access to a time-sharing system sixty some miles away in Atlanta, GA.  Programmed using the then ‘new’ BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)—this was state of the art.[ii]

Communications time was expensive, so we wrote our programs and transferred them to yellow tapes used to program the distant computer.  Only then did the iterative ‘debugging’ process begin.

Source: Convergent MightyFrame

The 1960s and early 1970s saw the rise of the minicomputer and other independent devices that would become the so-called IBM Personal Computer popularized in the 1980s.  The current computing device technology of choice is over 12 years old—iPhone and its competitors.

Some argue that this platform is aging, yet has the next stage been identified yet?  The current rage, Big Data, AI, etc. are but applications and database schemas.[i]  Game changing compute power is not yet mainstream.[ii]

Enterprise Digitalization is also a craze.  Transforming mere mortal organizations into future juggernauts that promise to change businesses if not humankind.  As with the Space Race of the last century, technology fallout and new ways of living will most like result in the year 2069 looking a lot different than the present.

Neil Armstrong made an interesting comment when he said, “One small step . . . “  The late comedian Eddie Cantor is credited with saying, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”[iii]  That is one heck of a lot of small steps!!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

– Lao-Tzu.[iv]

The computing sector is no longer in its infancy.  It could be that the next fifty years will become the century of something else.

In any event, we did not get to the moon overnight and we most likely will not arrive at our next major milestone by leaping either.  Focus on your daily steps and who knows where your life long journey will take you.  Go ahead and step off the last rung of your ladder.

How Will Your Next Small Step Become a Game Changer?

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End Notes

[i]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_schema

[ii]  https://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-computing-power-has-changed-over-time-2017-11

[iii]  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/eddie_cantor_309843

[iv]  https://www.libertyforrest.com/blog/2015/9/13/a-journey-of-a-thousand-miles

[i]  https://www.techopedia.com/definition/13429/turing-machine

[ii]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BASIC