There are some who might say that the old times were better. While that can be seen as an idealistic viewpoint, it cannot be accepted as truth. Anyone who objectively looks at history will understand that the modern era is far more comfortable, offering better opportunities than in the past. Elon Musk is a strong believer in this.
“There is no better time to be alive… Humanity can address a lot of the suffering that occurs in the world and make things a lot better. I think a lot of times people are quite negative about the present and about the future, but really if you are a student of history, when else would you really want to be alive?” he said at an event (CNBC).
1. Longer life
Human beings today live longer than in the past. The life expectancy of an American was 78.96 years as of 2015. This is 9 years longer than it was about five decades back. In the mid-18th century, life expectancy was a paltry 29 years. Imagine dying right in the middle of your adulthood; never having even seen your hair turn grey. Compared to those times, an average American is living about 40 years longer. When it comes to infant mortality, the modern world fares far better. In the 1700s, almost a third of the children born in the richest regions of the world would die before seeing their fifth birthday. Today, even the poorest parts of the globe have a better child mortality rate.
Education and status
In the past, education was largely reserved for the social elites. A poor person would find it difficult to attend school, let alone a university. Today, things have changed drastically. More than 80 percent of the global population is estimated to be educated to some extent. In the 1940s, the percentage of Americans who were 25-plus years and had completed high school education was just above 20 percent. By the 2000s, this percentage jumped to more than 80 percent.
The spread of education has also had a profound impact on the social status of individuals. A few centuries back, someone born to a carpenter would have been doomed to be a carpenter or do some other work of similar social standing no matter how smart they were. This is not the case today. A financially-strained student now has access to options like scholarships, grants, and student loans through which he or she can attain education and improve available opportunities.
Perhaps the single most important piece of technology of the past century might be the Internet. Thanks to this, we have all the information accumulated by human beings at our fingertips. Communication is faster, due to which decisions are also made faster. You can remain in constant touch with loved ones in ways that were impossible hundreds of years ago.
Imagine traveling back in time and showing a video call to a medieval person! The Internet has had a tremendous impact on business. A company can sell its product in any part of the world and get paid as soon as the order is made, while the customer gets the product in a day or a few days at most. This was inconceivable just a few decades back.