There is a sense from every generation that they are generally more informed and open minded than the one that came before. This is not simply youthful arrogance. Not entirely anyway. There is some psychological basis to the idea that young people, as a rule, tend to be generally more enthusiastic and open minded than older people.
Add to this the fact that new technology over time and the rate at which tech companies come out with new devices, it is easy to see previous periods of history as less advanced.
(Check out:5 amazing ways nanotechnology is changing the world)
It is this sort of thinking that is at the root of the notion that if a person from the 1950s were to be brought into the present day they would be shocked and swoon at all the new Technology. It is a scenario that is easy to envision. Such is the ignorance of youth.
Age of wonder
Part of the problem with trying to project the feelings or reactions of someone from 1956 who suddenly found themselves in 2017, is that even then, the culture was not a hegemony. A factor that is often left out of such considerations is the strong popularity of science and Science Fiction at the time.
The mid-1950s, while short on what could be considered tech companies, were a time when mass-market magazines such as LIFE and Readers Digest would routinely run stories on the ‘World of Tomorrow’ and what It might look like. Many of them featuring colonies on the moon and people zipping about town with jet-packs.
In lieu of widely available television, there was a strong market for low-cost pulp novels and movies, many of them with a science fiction bent. Social theorists, though that term did not yet exist, such as Marshall McLuhan were talking about technology and where it might go for years.
Ancient computers base of new technology
As has been noted previously, the notion of a computer goes back to the early 1940s, Alan Turing’s contraption being instrumental in breaking the Enigma code and winning World War Two for the Allies.
There were, of course, naysayers and Luddites in 1956 just as they have been all through history, including the original Ned Ludd, but they were by no means the majority. In the case of an average person who read a reasonable amount, followed the news and went to the movies on semiregular, basis, there is very little in the way of new technology today that would truly startle them.
They may well even be slightly disappointed that, despite the fact that there are smartphones and the electric car is making a comeback – the first on being the Baker electric in 1909 – they still cannot buy a jet-pack.
A matter of socialization
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What is far more likely to throw our time-traveler off-kilter is the massive social change that has occurred in the past fifty years.
Policies such as segregation and apartheid were very much alive and well in 1956. Women, while having gotten the vote for the most part, were still mostly relegated to the kitchen and the idea of them working in an executive capacity was not one most could entertain.
Not to mention that homosexuality was officially considered a mental illness at best and a crime at worst.