Society does not progress in a straight line. It makes jumps, leaps, and bounds ever upward. Society’s goal is to change for the better and, to facilitate that, big changes must be made. It is not people in positions of power that make these changes, not the rich, nor the most influential. It is the inventor that provides those changes that lead to the jumps in society’s progress. Looking over the past 100 years, where would be without the microwave, the smartphone, and the computer just to name a few? Each of these inventions changed the way people behave. With each new invention, society adjusts. People no longer take hours in the kitchen to heat up food, and few write letters and wait for the mail to deliver them. People can now use the time that they spent on those activities for different more productive purposes.
Consider GPS, for example. It was invented and used solely by the U.S. military for a long time. After an international incident involving a plane being shot down by mistake, the U.S. military released the technology for all to use. The first handheld GPS was sold by Magellan in 1989. Before GPS, people would give directions, often using landmarks. People searching for locations could get lost for hours. Now GPS is what all smartphone users have in their hands at all times, able to pinpoint any location easily and quickly. Getting from one place to another has never been simpler.
What about the ballpoint pen? It was patented in 1943. The invention is now the world’s most popular writing instrument. Millions of units are shipped daily. Before this invention, people would struggle to write while having to dip their pen in ink as it ran dry. The ballpoint pen was a cleaner, more efficient way to write, and one that changed society forever.
What will be the next invention that makes society jump to a higher plateau, ditching archaic behaviors and replacing them with new more efficient, and more purposeful ones? We simply do not know what those inventions or behaviors will be. However, we do know one thing, one constant that has remained true throughout time, the inventor will be the one that changes society and invents the future.