Measure Technological Progress

How Do We Measure Technological Progress?

Technology has come a long way in the last 100 years or so, but how can we really tell that it’s become better? Download

For example, let’s compare a 1920’s automobile to today’s luxury vehicles.

There are plenty of differences that you could measure to demonstrate that technological progress has been made

(increased speed, features like power steering and anti-lock brakes, etc.). But there’s also one very important

measurement that we often forget to factor in: safety! Cars in the 20th century were not nearly as safe as today’s models.

The Difference Between Hardware, Software, and Data

We often talk about technology in terms of hardware and software. Hardware is the physical stuff, Download

like your computer, phone, or tablet. Software is the programs that run on those devices, like your operating system or apps.

But there’s another important element of technology that doesn’t get talked about as much: data.

Data is what you produce with every swipe of your finger and click of a mouse, every time you use a program to write an email or edit a photo. Download

Your data creates an ever-growing digital footprint that can reveal everything from where you are to who you know to what’s on your mind.

It’s hard to imagine life without it, but this very personal information has historically been under our control; now it’s increasingly out of reach.

Companies trade, buy, and sell billions of pieces of our personal data every day — all in the name of boosting their profits.

And we’re not just talking about corporations here. Our friends, family members, employers,

colleagues—sometimes even government agencies—can take information from us without asking for permission or telling us why they need it.

That lack of transparency around who collects our data and how they use it is what allows them to make decisions that affect our lives without accountability

The Next Five Years

In the next five years, we will see even more technological advances. But how do we measure these advances?

How do we know if we are making progress? One way to measure progress is by looking at the number of patents issued.

If you look at patent applications in 2016 and compare them to 2001, there has been a significant increase.

It would seem that over the last two decades, there has been an explosion of innovation.

However, this data should be taken with a grain of salt. More than three-quarters of patents are never commercially used or produced again once they are granted

(American Intellectual Property Law Association). So although it looks like progress is being made based on this

metric, the actual rate of innovation may not be as high as it seems.

The Next Decade

As we move into the next decade, it’s important to measure technological progress. There are many ways to do this, but one way is to look at the number of

breakthrough technologies that are developed. A breakthrough technology is defined as a new technology that has the potential to change the world.

In the past decade, we’ve seen a number of breakthrough technologies, including self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and gene

editing. As we move into the next decade, it will be interesting to see which technologies have the biggest impact on our lives.

Will 3D printing be an essential part of how we produce goods in 10 years? What about the Internet of Things – will it continue to grow exponentially,

or will there be issues with privacy that halt its development? It’s hard to say what these technologies could lead to for our future. One thing is certain though: as humans, it’s

in our nature to develop new technologies and improve existing ones so that they can make life easier.

The Next 50 Years

As we look to the next 50 years, it’s important to measure technological progress. But how do we do that? One way

is to look at the number of patents filed each year. This gives us a good indication of the amount of innovation that is taking place.

The United States and China are tied for first in terms of the most patents filed per million people. The US has 3,412 patents

per million people, while China has 2,745 per million people.

It may seem strange that China ranks so high on this list when they have had less time to develop their tech industry than the US.

However, many Chinese citizens have been trained in technical fields in other countries

and they return home with their new skills and knowledge to help drive innovation back home.

Another way to measure technological progress is by looking at Google searches for different technologies over time. To give

an example, there were 456.4 million Google searches for Self-driving cars in 2016.

That’s more than double the number of searches (210.2 million) recorded two years earlier (2014).

A higher volume of queries means there is more interest in self-driving cars right now.

A third way to measure technological progress is by counting up patents issued over time,

then dividing them by total population size (US patent rate = 3,412/320+million = 1%).

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