Do you think the past 20 years have been more or less progressive than the 20 before them?
I’d say in terms of pop culture, fashion and music 1994 is definitely closer to today, but in terms of technology it’s closer to 1974. 1994 is about the latest time the existence of the Internet/cell phones was so minimal you could ignore it. Most things were still done the old fashioned, pre-digital way by most people.
In terms of the “world order” the Cold War was over, however there wasn’t nearly as much globalization as now. China was still a very poor country and even countries like South Korea and Ireland were kinda second world. Russia had just had its last soldiers leave eastern Europe that year and Northern Ireland was still a war zone.
Nowadays you can hear songs like “Gangnam Style” and “Call Me Maybe” in Sri Lanka while in the 90s sometimes it could take several years for a song to become a hit in a foreign country.
Even if you take just technology, it’s closer from 1994 to today than 1994 to 1974.
The World Wide Web, while not in huge use, was around. It was created in 1993. A good number of people owned personal computers, whereas no one did in 1974. Most everyone owned TVs, the same couldn’t be said of 1974. CD players were the music medium of choice and can still be used today on my computer. The majority of cars were unleaded in 1994, same as today, while in 1974 the majority of cars were using diesel.
On another note, we’re fighting the same wars from 1994, so there’s that too.
Otherwise, you are correct. While a majority of American households had a Color TV by 1974, B&W TVs were still around in 1974 (just as CRTs are still around now). Infact, Atari 2600 had a switch for B&W TV.
1994 and 2014 are more similar. Pretty much everything that is around today was around in some sort of proto-fashion back in 1994, which wasn’t the case when comparing 1974 and 1994.
The WWW, cell phones, reality TV, cable TV, 24 hour news channels, safe sex (maybe even more so back in 1994), environmental awareness, etc… were all around back then (my jr year of college, BTW) in some mass market form or fashion, even if they weren’t the big things that they are now.
What is different is Google. But I was technically advanced in 94, and I’m technically retarded now.
My wife is the other way around: she wasn’t very advanced in 1994: She hadn’t seen much of the personal computer change, she didn’t have a cell phone. Now her life is very different: she uses a tablet instead of a TV, a computer instead of a typewriter. Minute to minute, her life at work and home is different to what it was in 1994.
I disagree with the comment about environmental awareness. The EPA was created in 1970 under President Nixon and there was landmark environmental legislation in the early 1970s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epa
Someone who wanted to ignore cell phones and the Internet could ignore them a lot later than that. I don’t think what one is capable of ignoring has much bearing on the question of technology. In 1994 there were digital (2G) cellphones commercially available, and some could even send text messages. This technology did not exist in 1974. (According to Wikipedia Motorola demonstrated some kind of hand-held cellphone in 1973, but it was analog and they weren’t for sale to the public.) And while it’s my recollection that ordinary middle class Americans did not commonly own cellphones in 1994, they weren’t seen as particularly novel or exotic either. Ordinary people knew what they were, but IIRC they were mostly considered not worth the money.
I wasn’t alive in 1974 so I can’t really compare daily life in 1974 to 1994, but I do remember 1994 and a lot of the technology people use in their daily lives today is basically just a better version of stuff that we had in 1994. We had cable TV, personal computers, cell phones, and the Internet in 1994. We didn’t quite have DVDs yet, but Video CDs had been around for about a year and LaserDiscs since 1978, so the idea of playing movies off a disc wasn’t new. We were a few years away from the MP3 player, but portable cassette and CD players were very common. In 1974 no one had ever even seen a Walkman.
Yeah, but in 1974, it wasn’t a common or “in” thing for people to be environmentally aware- there wasn’t any real recycling, people didn’t buy cars based on emissions and gas economy, and generally speaking, it just wasn’t much of an issue except among counter-culture types, hippies and college students. Your average person in say… Des Moines didn’t give a shit.
This started to change by the mid-90s and is much more mainstream today than ever before.
The Internet and cell phones have been the big thing since 1994; otherwise, I really don’t think a whole lot else has changed.
I first went online in 1996 (actually, my dad had Prodigy in the 80s, though I never used it personally), and I got my first cell phone in 1999. So if you want to move forward just a few years, very little technology has appeared of a revolutionary nature.
I think the really big changes since 1994 have been economic.
As a point of reference for cell phones, the cult favorite TV show My So Called Life came out in 1994, and had an episode in which a character is described derogatorily as the kind of person who would have one of those flip phones. So having a cell phone was viewed as the province of rich people and/or snobs, but was clearly not unknown.