"This world has been created between 1870 and 1914"
Vaclav Smil, talking about technology:
> We haven't invented a bigger, more efficient, more reliable machine than the one we invented in the 1880s.
> If you imagine a person from 1820, 1720, 1620, 1520, there were no new prime movers: a man on a horse. But if you bring people from 1890 to 2011, they would recognize absolutely everything, except you would have to explain how we got down to the microchip level. That's the only thing which we've invented since.
> The internal combustion engine, Benz, the diesel, [Otto, the steam turbine].
> It's very difficult to go up [in scale].
I've made the argument myself that progress peaked pretty much in that same period. My own bounds are on even quarter centuries, so, 1875 to 1925. Arguably the most transformative fifty years in human history, at least so far as inventions are concerned.
I suspect that how those inventions play out may lead to another highly transformative half-century, possibly already begun.
"Vaclav Smil - Drivers of environmental change: focus on energy transitions"