What was life like before you knew about incompatible blood types? Dangerous. A blood transfusion could cost you your life. What was life like before antibiotics? Or plastic (steampunk nowadays?)? Or before you knew about microbes?
Kind of difficult to imagine, though we have documentary evidence people survived and lived. They tried blood transfusion among relatives to reduce chances of death (ie higher chances of same blood group), washed hands with soap after going to an infected site (reduce chances of microbial infection) etc., but did not know why.
Similarly, centuries from now, people will (hopefully) wonder at a few things. I would hope that there will be advancement in Science and living standards. I would hope, that dystopia will not be true because of the hope-for-the-better nature of human beings.
People will wonder how TB or polio or malaria or jaundice existed
Of how vaccines were so difficult to make
But what I would like are thoughts like:
How did people think "Global Warming" was so bad? It submerged all those overpopulated places and controlled human population didn't it?
How primitive those liquid fuel based cars seem now. What a cloud of smoke and noise!
Oooh! look at all these quaint images they made of the future!
There was actually a time when they didn't have internet? O_o [Though I think this has already come up - they will have a different equivalent of the net then - telepathy?]
But yes, the point is, there will be always some level of progress which will make what we consider "cutting edge" or futuristic seem obsolete and even funny. No matter how much we progress we will still be objects of interest and wonder to future generations.
In some cases the time taken is smaller, and in some others it may take longer. Internet seems to be a game of yesterday but aeroplanes took their own sweet time. But in chemistry, in biology, it may be a while that we catch up with what our preceding generations did. A discovery a year, a pathbreaking development once every so often, a wondrous invention - they seem to have given way to price wars and sterile chambers. To strongly followed processes which kill all chances of true experimentation. Of a battle with competition so strong that patents rule the day and legality and documenting take the time of creative thinking over common small yet unsolved problems.
A time when it is more worrying to have an experimental clone sheep in a lab because of public interest and views and funds, than its scientific points and progress. When making money is so important that you'd rather come out with three different versions of the same drug at higher prices (Statins) than make a technology which could probably address some other disease. A time where progress seems to have slowed down compared to the earlier centuries.
Is that because of a lack of things to 'find out' or simply too much legality and better money to be made from other sources? Will centuries later they look at this time of history as anything except some technological development? Will there be any significant development in Science as we know it - the life saving, people helping kind of science? Or will this time period be remembered as the time for Softwares and Global Warming.