This excellent chart from Visual Economics (h/t Derek Thompson) reinforces one of the core themes we’ve been following at Via Meadia: the rapid expansion of new technology over time. The graph tracks the spread of the most important new technologies of the 20th century, including cars, refrigerators, electricity and computers.Click to enlarge:The chart highlights one of the most most important, and largely unheralded, changes in American society. Not only are new technologies being created faster than ever before; they are also becoming accessible to the broader population much more rapidly than at earlier points in history. The telephone was invented in the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that a majority of American homes had one. By contrast, the internet was invented in its current form in the early 1990s and was in use in a majority of American homes a mere decade later.The development of new technologies is accelerating even as the lag time between development and adoption is falling, magnifying their impact on society. Rather than spending years as expensive toys of the rich, today’s cutting edge technology is discovered simultaneously by rich and poor alike.There are more new products than ever before and their use is spreading faster than ever before.The world is on fire, and there is no end in view.