We explain and summarize the history of technology and its causes. Also, what were the technological revolutions and characteristics.

History of technologyHistory of technology
Technology has existed since the beginning of humanity and created almost everything around us.

What is the history of technology?

By history of technology is meant the historical account of the human development of tools and techniques that have enabled it to serve practical purposes. Thanks to them he has been able to transform the world around him to make his life easier.

To a large extent, it is an important segment of the history of humanity itself, since the application of scientific knowledge and its impact on society have the ability to radically alter human life.

On the other hand, technology is a unique tool of the human species, consequence of the application of their intellectual capacity and their creative abilities. For this reason, the history of technology can also be understood as the historical account of the adaptive capacities of the human being.

See also: History of human communication

What is technology?

technology is the application of scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe, to the specific and punctual resolution of the problems of the human being. This means creating, designing and improving goods or services available to facilitate the adaptation of the species to the environment and the satisfaction of its desires or needs (physical, social, cultural).

When was the technology born?

history of technology - hieroglyphicshistory of technology - hieroglyphics
The creation of an articulate and symbolic language is exclusive to humanity.

Technology does not have a date of birth as such, that is, we cannot say that from a specific year it was created or invented. seems to be something It has existed since the beginning of our species.. In fact, it serves to distinguish humanity from other hominin species.

The conquest of fire, the use of lithic (stone) tools and the creation of an articulated and symbolic language They are forms of technology that denote closeness to our species and that, to this day, are exclusive to humanity among all the animals in the world.

How is technological progress measured?

There are many social and anthropological theories that attempt to measure technological progress or at least allow for comparisons and measurements of social, cultural, and scientific evolution. Some of them agree that the available information is the element that allows this measurement.

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That is the greater the amount of information, the more advanced the technological development of a society. By information we understand the amount of knowledge accumulated and applicable in the different areas of life.

Stages of technology evolution

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The Industrial Revolution brought the first massive machines and factories.

The technological evolution of humanity is generally classified into several well-differentiated stages, called “Ages”, and which are:

  • Stone age. Stage that includes the beginnings of humanity, when we were a fundamentally hunter-gatherer species, which learned to use stone and bone instruments to hunt, to grind food or to defend itself against rival tribes, as well as fire to cook its food. All this without generating a perceptible impact on the ecosystem with these survival technologies.
  • Age of metals. The permanent settlements, the domestication of animals and the discovery of the forge, that is, of metallurgical work that allowed human beings to forge simpler, more versatile and more resistant tools, represented an important change in their way of life. This age is usually classified into three:
    • Copper age. Where the first steps are taken in the smelting and extraction of this mineral, which was used to make instruments, weapons of war and ritual vessels, among other things, despite being a soft metal.
    • Bronze Age. A step forward in the knowledge of metals by humanity was represented by alloys, especially those of copper with tin, to produce bronze, with more resistant and less oxidizable properties, and thus start the use of this metal in our civilizations. , which still survives to this day.
    • iron age. The discovery of iron, despite being the most abundant element on the Earth’s surface, occurred 7,000 years after the knowledge of copper and 2,500 years after that of bronze, but it soon became the most valuable metal known, especially for who learned to obtain various steels, resistant as well as moldable.
  • Middle Ages. The Middle Ages represented a slowdown in human technological development, especially in the West, since religion and mystical thought replaced reason and demonized ancient knowledge for almost fifteen centuries. Meanwhile, other peoples such as the Muslims or the Chinese flourished and made important strides in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
  • Modern age. The Modern Age is characterized by the commitment to scientific and technological progress, especially after the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution that it led to in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Industrial Revolution, between the 18th and 19th centuries, allowed human beings to develop the first machines, mechanical devices and profound transformations of materials, generating a very high ecological impact but advancing by leaps and bounds in the understanding of the universe.
  • Contemporary age. The Contemporary Age is in progress, and refers to the last two centuries of our history, in which our technological reach has forever revolutionized the way we understand ourselves and understand life on our planet. It has even allowed us to start space exploration, extend our life expectancy and eradicate diseases, although at a very high cost in environmental, moral and ethical matters.
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Causes of technological evolution

History of technologyHistory of technology
Curiosity is the strongest motivation towards technological change.

Technological evolution is driven by various economic, social and cultural reasons, which can be summarized as:

  • The desire for a more pleasant life. The fight against death is a fundamental drive in human inventiveness, as is the desire to have more time to spend on pleasures, or to work less and lead a fuller life.
  • Human curiosity. We are a curious species, who likes to learn, discover new things and understand the world around us. That is, in many cases, the strongest motivation for technological change.

Consequences of technological evolution

Technological evolution has many consequences on a day-to-day basis, which can go towards improving our daily lives (less effort, less suffering, satisfaction of certain desires) or also to its detriment (new forms of oppression, new forms of war, new diseases).

Technology is completely amoral and depending on how we use it, we can generate positive and balanced changesor we can throw the world headlong into ruin.

technological revolutions

History of technologyHistory of technology
The rise of computers ushered in globalization.

Throughout our history as a species there have been several technological revolutions, that is, times in which the emergence of knowledge and technology radically and definitively alter the way we live and relate to the world. Some examples are:

  • The Neolithic Revolution (10,000 BC approximately). When agriculture was discovered and nomadism was abandoned in favor of the first cities.
  • The Industrial Revolution (1780-1840). It exerted the largest and deepest number of changes in human society since the Neolithic, from the traditional rural economy to the industrialized urban economy, with the factory as the main axis.
  • The Technical Revolution (1880-1920). Called the Second Industrial Revolution, in which the market economy was globalized and spread the effects of the first throughout the world.
  • The Digital Revolution (1985-2000). Consequence of the change that the appearance of computers and computer networks exerted on the social, work and economic dynamics of the world, opening the way to globalization.
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hypertechnologization

The technological race, from the 20th century, reached unsuspected levels and moved at a much faster pace than in the whole of the rest of the history of the species. This caused a voracious technological consumption in societies, a consequence of a greater and greater presence of technology on a day-to-day basis, which is known as hyper-technologization.

This phenomenon caused a technological furor that in certain sectors obtained a contrary response: the nostalgia for the “better times” of the Middle Ages or Antiquity and the resumption of traditions given up as lost. Outdated thoughts are even taken up again, which under the mistrust of modernity, return as conspiracy theories: flat earth, anti-vaccination, etc.

The future of technology

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The possibilities for the future of technology are endless but dangerous.

The question about the technological future is difficult to answer, but it is full of dreams. Science Fiction narratives dreamed of a complex post-industrial worldin which the very ideas of the human body, of the natural and the artificial can be erased.

They also imagined huge space empires, in which humanity abandons its planet and expands throughout the galaxy. The possibilities are endless, but dangerous.: Others have envisioned a humanity defeated and subjugated by its own intelligent devices, or simply extinct in the midst of nuclear war.

Technology history timeline

  • 000 a.m. c. neolithic revolution
  • 300 B.C. c. Foundation in Sumer of Uruk, the first city.
  • 000 a.m. c. Invention of writing and end of prehistory.
  • 387 BC C.. Plato founds the Academy of Athens.
  • 48 a.m. c. Burning of the Library of Alexandria.
  • 475 d. c. Beginning of the Middle Ages and obscurantism.
  • 900. The compass is invented in China.
  • 1492. Columbus arrives in America. The Modern Age begins.
  • 1543. Nicolaus Copernicus publishes his heliocentric theory.
  • 1774. The first steam engine is built and the Industrial Revolution begins.
  • 1850. The Second Industrial Revolution begins.
  • 1957. The USSR puts Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
  • 1981. The first IBM personal computer is marketed.
  • 2001. Sequencing of 90% of the human genome.

References:

  • “History of Technology” on Wikipedia.
  • “History of technology” (video) at CESSI Argentina.
  • “Evolution and history of technology” in Technology Area.
  • “History of technology” in Tecnomagazine.
  • “Stages in the history of technology” in Technological Education 1st.
  • “History of Technology” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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