This is a classic photo caption:

The second iteration of the Cray supercomputer, this time released in 1985, could run a staggering twelve times faster than the original, while taking up less space.

Cray-2 Supercomputer by Pargon, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Pargon 

According to Steve Omohundro, in his TEDxTallinn presentation, “Smart Technology for the Greater Good,” The iPad2 in 2011 was (and still is) as powerful as the 1985 Cray Supercomputer. This comparative statistic is also repeated elsewhere on the web on credible sites including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

That comparison puts the power of mobile technology today in stark perspective. My iPad2 is still my primary tablet computing device, since I haven’t upgraded it yet. I knew it was powerful, but THIS powerful?! Wow.

Would you have ever imagined, in 1985, that every student in your classroom could potentially have their own Cray Supercomputer in their hand to explore and interact with the world? I didn’t. Even though I heard Ian Jukes talking about Moore’s Law and Technological singularity in the late 1990s, the reality of what these changes would mean for our society and for learning barely registered. I knew then I needed to pay attention, but my headspace was (and still is) inadequate to fully comprehend what all these changes mean.

I’ll be sharing this comparison in my opening keynote tomorrow in Missoula, Montana, for the 2013 “TechKnowledgey Conference.” Follow along with our learning the rest of the week with the Twitter hashtag, #mtedtech.

H/T to John Havens for sharing Steve’s video in his EXTREMELY thought provoking recent article for Mashable, “You Should Be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence.”

I’m not going to share these next two videos in my keynote, but they are definitely worth checking out.

According to a poster in the ARS Technica forum (not necessarily a credible source, but I’ll share this with the expectation someone will correct me if this is in error):

The new iPhone 5’s A6 already scores about the same in benchmarks as a dual processor G5 workstation from 2004, 8 years ago.

Before the Apple G5 there was the G4, and I’ll never forget the 1999 Apple G4 “Weapon” advertisement. Were you an Apple user in 1999? I was, teaching 4th grade at Wheelock Elementary School in Lubbock, Texas. I loved this ad.

What else was going on in 1999, “just” a short 14 years ago? The ten minute “Remember 1999” YouTube video will bring back more than a few memories.

It blows my mind to think about the power of the smartphones and tablets my own kids are going to be using in college in a few years. There’s no question these devices already have incredible power. The big question is, are we going to use these powerful tools for good or for evil? Remember, “your word is your wand” and now your words can travel at the speed of light around our entire planet thanks to the Internet, the web and social media.

The times they are a changin’ indeed.

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