General

How the race for the moon and pop culture changed people's attitude to technology.

In April 1965, the US government owned andused 1767 computers. In April 1965, there were 22,500 computers in the whole country - 450 computers per staff. We know this because on April 2, 1965, Time magazine published an 8-page story called “Computer in society: the cybernated generation”, in which he described the exact state of affairs about computers in the United States. Today, there are separate buildings in Manhattan or Dallas, each with more computers than there were in all of the United States in 1965.

Before the New Year, Apple sold 22,500 computers every 38 minutes.

The 60s became a period of all kinds of revolutions -civil rights and feminism, the sexual revolution and rock and roll - but among them there is one that has not received due attention: the rise of technology as a cultural phenomenon.

When did the first home electronics appear?

In 1957, when the Soviet Union launchedSputnik-1, and even in 1961, when President Kennedy began the race to the moon, in ordinary life there was no concept of technology. Technology was something not of this world. Under them, basically meant atomic weapons and the associated missiles and bombers.

In the late 50s and early 60s, the Americans had all sorts of "gadgets", but they were not electronic. These were household appliances designed to make life easier or more fun.

In 1950, only 9% of American families had televisions.

In 1965 - at 90%.

Americans bought air conditioners (in the 50sthe number of purchases increased by 8 times), bought dishwashers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Convenience has become a passion. The number of clothes dryers increased 10 times from 1950 to 1969; electric openers surpassed all other appliances in sales.

Eric Schatzberg - Technological HistorianInstitute of Georgia, which studies the concept of technology and how the use of the word itself has changed. He notes that the Americans did not use the word "technology", referring to the growing number of home devices, and in advertising all these modern items - from passenger aircraft to console televisions - this word was also not used.

“There was no idea of ​​technology that we use everywhere now,” says Schatzberg. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, “technology” was overshadowed by a sense of “hidden inconvenience,” the historian believes.

In this context, NASA and Apollo have rendered powerfulcultural influence. Cosmos has changed the aura and taste of technology. For a decade the Americans watched on television a review of the space program; more and more in the minds of people imprinted picture with other people sitting at the monitors in the mission control center. They used computers not for military actions, they used them for the most difficult feats of mankind: flights to space, flights to the moon. They used computers for fun and adventure. Astronauts were the soul of flight, and computers were a vital tool in this whole endeavor, as important as rockets and spacesuits.

In fact, in the history of Time 1965 about the growingThe impact of computers on American society on the first page was a photograph of the NASA mission control center with dozens of consoles and computer screens. There was also an anecdote about how a network of NASA computers, scattered in 15 places around the world, “watched, watched, advised, and from time to time warned astronauts Gemini.

The real use of computers in spaceThe program is reflected in popular culture. In the 1950s, there was not a single television show about space in America. There were already five of them in the 1960s: “The Jetsons”, “Lost in Space”, “I Dream of Ginny”, “My Favorite Martian” and “Star Trek”. Three of them included whole worlds of technology built around computers and helper robots. Fifty years later, the Enterprise spacecraft seems to us to be just as fantastic as it was in the Apollo era.

These TV shows also helped formperception and attitude. All three technologies were at the service of people. They cooked food, swam in deep space, answered questions, provided instant video calling. In the "Jetson" technique cleaned the house, preparing meals for children, walking the dog. In general, computers were easy to use and useful, quietly intruding into everyday life two or three decades before it actually happened.

But the pop culture of the time also reflected how the Apollo and PCO astronauts were ahead of ordinary Americans just as Kirk, Spock, and Uhura were ahead of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.

When President Kennedy in May 1961 askedAmericans to spend billions of dollars to send astronauts to the moon, he said the following: “... in the truest sense of the word, this is not one person going to the moon, it will be a whole nation. We all have to work to send him there. ”

Passenger planes were in servicetwo years. In 1961, most Americans have never flown on airplanes. Forget about the moon - people did not even fly into the air, even on Earth. By July 1969, when Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the moon, only 4% of Americans had touch-tone phones. This gap made missions to the moon even more amazing, both technologically and politically.

A product that began to transform feelingsAmericans with respect to technology, was the first real "personal electronic" device: transistor radio AM, which became available in the 1950s, but gained popularity in the 1960s, when the price dropped. In 1965 it was possible to buy a transistor radio for $ 19 (the equivalent of modern $ 150). By the time of the first lunar walk, 35 million transistor radios were sold in the country with 200 million people. It is noteworthy that the first compact electronic device was named after the technology that made it possible, the same technology thanks to which the astronauts visited the moon.

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