Was it better in the 80s or today? Here are the results of the survey!

Was it better in the 80s or today?

I often talk to people, who say that it was better before, than today. Was it better in the 80s or today? This is the survey I posted on many Facebook groups of retro computers, Commodore and vintage electronics.

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It all started from this video, which I had made to compare the performance of the Commodore 64 compared to that of a couple of modern PCs.

I thought: in the face of impressive technological progress, have the quality of our lives and work increased proportionally over the years?

The options available in the survey were three:

  • It was better before: it was better in the days of the Commodore;
  • We are better off today: progress has improved the quality of life;
  • We basically do the same things we did before.

In short, it was possible to vote: we were better off in the 80s, we are better in 2020, but also to express a vote of parity.

In total, on the various groups, the survey received 204 votes, while the exchange of comments came to almost 200. People have expressed such a number of opinions sufficient to set the basis for some reasoning, in favor of the 80s and also in favor of modern times.

The opinions listed below are not the result of my reasoning, but of those who participated in the survey. I have only tried to summarize them.

One last note, before going into the numbers and opinions: it was pointed out to me that posting such a survey on groups of people fond of vintage technologies, does not make sense! It is obvious that the members of those groups are linked to the past! On the contrary, to my amazement, on one of the groups he even won the option: "you are better off today".

It was better in the 80s!

Why was it better off 40 years ago, when today we can have so much more, including items we could buy before?

The question is legitimate, and should be asked to as many as 109 voters out of 204. The percentage of those who think they were better off in the 80s is about 54%.

In fact, this option was the most voted. How come?

Datel Action Replay, Commodore 64, floppy disk 1541 datassette, copy, video game transfer, video game

Some expressed this opinion because, in the 80s, they were living a happy period of their lives. They were boys, at that time, and they had less responsibility than now. It is not uncommon to hear people, even older, express favorable evaluations of the past, when, however, there was not even hot water in the house!

Other voters argue that, apart from being younger, people's behaviors were better 40 years ago. It was better because people had more respect for others.

In addition, it turned out that there was more money circulating. This fact, added to the lower consumerism, allowed people to have more savings than today.

Computers and software, 40 years ago, did not have to be updated: designers and programmers had to be much more attentive to what they did, before putting a product on the market!

Windows 10, operations on updates, task completion: 30%, do not turn off the computer

Another added value of a 1980s programmer compared to a 2020 programmer is that… he knew how to optimize the code! The programs had to be in very narrow memories. Today, on the contrary, software is very heavy and it is always necessary to buy more and more powerful computers.

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40 years ago, the pace of life was slower! There was more time to reason, also because the machines had less functionality. In the slowness of 40 years ago, it was the people who waited for the computer, when it loaded a program or when it had to return a result. While waiting, it was not uncommon to activate the brain, which in the meantime wandered among a thousand thoughts.

Waiting was also a widespread feeling then. Waiting to buy an item, or a video game, made it even more special and you didn't get bored right away.

1980 and 2020: it's the same thing!

In the poll, it was possible to cast a tie vote.

Basically, today we do the same things we could have done 40 years ago, just with different tools.

Or, today there are many positive aspects, as in the past, for which expressing a vote is difficult.

Another thought expressed by those who voted in a neutral way is that both today and yesterday the same things are done, but we are the ones who change the point of view. The world, in reality, continues its race anyway.

This is the thought of 23 out of 204 people: 11% of voters.

The tie vote was little chosen: most of those who participated in the survey preferred to express a stronger opinion.

It's better today!

And here, finally, the data and opinions of those who claim that we are better off today, compared to the 80s.

As many as 72 out of 204 voters, 35%, think they are better off today.

Even the opinions of those who believe that we are better off today are very well articulated.

Today there are much more powerful computers than 40 years ago: with such high-performance tools, you can do practically anything and in a short time.

Commodore 64 Vs modern PC, real performance comparison, 40 years

Moreover, technology is now within everyone's reach: prices have dropped and there is more choice, both in terms of hardware and software.

The world has really turned for two great inventions: the Internet and mobile devices. Through these tools, you can share ideas and knowledge immediately.

Technology has greatly increased the quality of life: today you can also work from the comfort of your home, in smart working.

Life, today, is simpler: there are satellite navigators that accompany us when we go by car, we have electric bikes, you can order your groceries online and receive it directly at home.

Today the information is many and immediately available to everyone on the Internet: not like in the 80s, when you had to go to the library to read a text!

A provocation

The survey showed that, for many people, it was better in the 80s than today. And this, despite the enormous steps forward that humanity has traveled.

One person suggested an article to me, explaining that the LEM's computer, the Lunar Excursion Module, used in the Apollo missions to land on the moon, had a computing power equal to that of a microwave oven today.

In short, it doesn't matter how powerful your computer is, but what it's used for!

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The lesson, maybe, is simple: if your phone is so much more powerful than the computers that put humanity on the moon, then why are you just staring at Instagram all day?“.
The Underappreciated Power of the Apollo Computer – www.theatlantic.com

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3 Comments

  1. Very interesting article, I think that in the end it is just a matter of perception, feeling good is a situation dictated by time in adapting to the conditions in which you find yourself, as soon as you get used to it, just then you are fine.
    I just wanted to add a thought of mine, and that I consider it a mistake to abandon the old systems of life by relying totally on technology, so there is a tendency to abandon basic knowledge, as although it is unlikely, it is not impossible to find oneself isolated from it, even the simple orientation becomes a big problem, communicate in another language as well, these are just a few examples, but there are many other cases for which serious problems can arise, this is my main concern, the future generation, to name a few, will no longer consider it important to know the positions of the important constellations, much less to write by hand.

  2. Christmas, thank you for expressing your opinion and for deepening the speech. I hope that some guys, of the new generations, will enjoy reading your comment and treasuring what you write.

  3. I am part of those who have lived and not in the age of poppante the 80s and obviously today has no doubt ... we lived VERY well before, while doing without the myriad of comforts that we have and use today, while paying a high price for everything we ... (the world is getting worse and worse for OVER consumerism, food and material, to which we add a devastating rapid every over forecast climate change that upsets every continent on a weekly basis ... making this planet more and more unviable and poor... or rather... human life!…
    however, a fundamental thing must be specified ... it is not possible to make a comparison with then, if you can not understand that the vast majority of today's comforts, then they did not often exist even in science fiction films and TV shows…
    So if one used the time machine to go back to the golden days of the C64... he would suffer a lot, knowing that he had to abandon the INTERNET (and everything that depends on it)... smartphones pc and pdas of all species and sizes, sat, paytv, HD, even having to steal some magazine or comic VM18, or browse the underwear of VESTRO .... to enjoy a naked woman…
    set the 127 in motion to go to work... you could make a gigantic list
    SO beyond the momentary charm of reliving those moments firsthand... shortly after YOU WOULD GO CRAZY for the known shortcomings.
    the comparison then right and 'better the 80s with the head of then and without KNOWING ANYTHING of what would come out later and we have today ... or rather today without knowing absolutely anything except by hearsay, because born in the new century with bread pe playstation (and I miss the 1 ....) ?? if so asked the question, the answer is very dry ... BETTER BEFORE... in all respects it was much better (politics, justice, economy, social, civic education, traditions, respect, daily life, social relations ...) not that the world and national misfortunes and dramas were missing then ... but the hands of time turned less fast... and therefore the beautiful moments lasted and were enjoyed a lot, but much, much more than today....

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