One could argue that the Old People are more like modern societies in that the Old People were technologically advanced.
Sadly for them, their technology didn't prevent them from being wiped out; in fact, it probably had something to do with it. The Old People were killed in a giant apocalypse known as “the Tribulation.” But they left behind examples of their technology, much of which resembles what exists today in modern societies.
For instance, the Old People used to drive around in buggies without horses. This would appear to correspond with motor cars. They had shiny, fish-shaped things that sound pretty much like airplanes. In addition, they had a mountain that they cut, a possible allusion to mining.
We don't know a great deal about the Old People, but the little we do hints at certain similarities between them and ourselves. Certainly, there is a world of difference between modern societies today and that of Waknuk, which is primitive, backward, and governed by religious fundamentalism.