A Brief Visual History of American Innovations

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In a series of papers studying the history of American innovation, Packalen and Bhattacharya indexed every one-word, two-word, and three-word phrase that appeared in more than 4 million patent texts in the last 175 years. To focus their search on truly new concepts, they recorded the year those phrases first appeared in a patent. Finally, they ranked each concept’s popularity based on how many times it reappeared in later patents. Essentially, they trawled the billion-word literature of patents to document the birth-year and the lifespan of American concepts, from “plastic” to “world wide web” and “instant messaging.”

Sources: Derek Thompson, “‘From Atoms to Bits’: A Brilliant Visual History of American Ideas“;  Mikko Packalen, Jay Bhattacharya, “New Ideas in Invention

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About GilPress

I launched the Big Data conversation; writing, research, marketing services; http://whatsthebigdata.com/ & https://infostory.com/
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