Okay, so we understand that NFTs are very new technology and honestly, at this point in the world, 99% percent of people are still skeptical. You might still be skeptical, that’s okay! What we’re here to tell you, is that people have been skeptical about every single new technology. People are skeptical about literally every single new technology when it first comes out. Now, today we understand the internet is world-changing. It’s groundbreaking. Billions of people are connected now in ways that were never possible before because of the internet. But when they are that first came out back in 1995, there was an extremely famous article called why the internet Won’t Be Nirvana.
And it talked about how people back then these crazy visionaries, We’re talking about how people would replace newspapers, just online. They would replace bookstores retail, brick and mortar stores, They would replace education. People would start telecommuting to work, and it said this is crazy. And you know what, it was pretty crazy in 1995. None of that was really possible and 1995. But now in 2021, we see that almost all of that has come true. People do work entirely online. People do just buy things online. People do just learn online. People read newspapers online. And all of these industries have been revolutionizing transformed by the internet. But in 1995, that was a crazy idea. And frankly, it’s not just the internet that people have been skeptical about. It’s everything. Back in 1987, there was a famous newspaper article that talked about the fleeting computer fad.
Where students were becoming disillusioned at the prospects of being able to ever make money in the computer industry and we’re leaving the computer science industry in droves. Despite the fact that Microsoft and Apple were founded in the mid-1970s and clearly there are still some of the largest companies in the world today. And if we go even further back, there is an amazing article in 1984 about how calculators are inferior to the slide rule, and how calculators are dumbing people down. If you use a calculator you’re never going to learn how to use math. And in fact, a slide rule is obviously superior to the calculator.
Because you don’t run out of batteries, and by the time you take out the calculator, there’s a famous quote from a professor who says, I can calculate on my slide rule faster than the time it takes you to punch the numbers into a calculator. And by the time you’re done punching numbers, the calculators run out of battery. Clearly, it’s inferior. People are always skeptical about new technologies. Let’s give some more examples. You know, the GUI. That’s the graphical user interface.
It’s what all computers have today, where you can just point and click. And before that, we used to have the command line. Well, when the GUI was invented, it seems obvious now that it’s better than you having to type everything into a terminal, not seeing any visuals, any pictures, but that wasn’t so clear when it was invented. Here’s an amazing article talking about how the GUI was dumbing people down.
The assistant director of the writing program at the University of Delaware’s English department, Halio, says that freshmen in the writing program who chose to enroll in the course using Macintosh computers produced far poorer compositions than students in the same course who chose IDM personal computers. Her observations were based on both her own teaching experience in 1987 and on a comparison of the work done by students in 25 sections of the competition course in late 1988. The results showed that Macintosh users on average wrote shorter sentences and paragraphs, made significantly more spelling and punctuation mistakes, and wrote an eighth-grade level instead of the college level of their IBM using counterparts. Further, the subjects the Macintosh students chose to write about were “fluffier” fast food, dating, television than the IBM topics, which include teenage pregnancy and nuclear war. The implication, Halio says, is that the Macintosh’s picture-oriented interface is somehow to blame. The same icons, fonts, mouse, and graphics that make the machine easy to use may well turn off the brain’s creative writing abilities.
So if we take that at face value, we’re all much dumber than we used to be because none of us are creative anymore because it’s too easy to use computers. And so that hopefully gives you some idea of the skepticism that every single new invention has gone through, even when they seem obvious to us today that they’re clearly superior to what we had before. For example, even airplanes were subject to this skepticism. Two months before the Wright brothers took off for the first time and they powered flight. There was a New York Times article that estimated it would take two million years for humans to ever achieve flight, and that the entire effort to attempt to do so was futile. When the automobile was invented, there was a brain specialist, whatever that means, and the famous newspaper argued that traveling at such high speeds would literally squish your brain and make you go crazy.
Even bicycles, which are now what we think of as a healthy way to get around, were deemed crazy and unhealthy when they were invented. It was claimed that you would get a bicycle spine, which would curve your bike, and also your face would get squished, just like with automobiles and airplanes.
All this to say, when we’re confronted with a brand new technology, it’s natural to feel skepticism. We felt skeptical about everything. In fact, to be honest, I honestly would probably feel terrified, the first time I went into an automobile driving at 80 miles an hour too, I would think this is not natural. This is crazy. Maybe my brain is going to get squished. Who knows? And so ultimately, if we look at all those examples in the past, maybe the skepticism we’re seeing about NFTs isn’t so bad. It’s actually pretty reasonable at this point in time. But let’s keep in mind, right now, for NFTs is just like 1995 for the internet. People are saying crazy things like the NFTs are going to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the future. They might be worth more than the Mona Lisa. Maybe everything in the world is going to be an NFT when we go into virtual reality and everyone lives in the metaverse. Those are all crazy concepts today. That’s absolutely true. But everything that was said about the internet in 1995 was also a crazy concept back then. And yet all those things became true. So any visceral, immediate skepticism you feel to NFTs, that’s reasonable.
That’s Okay. But also, let’s maybe just put that a little bit on pause and explore the possibilities of what NFTs might be in the future for just a little bit in the next post. – Why are NFTs possible today?