Before we are able to make a discussion of the history of technology, the paper must of course first and foremost be able to define what it is. After a proper definition has been made, the paper, in its totality, would be discussing the history of technology. Also, integrated into the discussion of historical fact would be the essential issues that need to be analyzed — this is done because the evolution of technology should not and must not be taken into a vacuum but rather should be approached in human contact it in the various historical implications that has made rise in such technology. Remember the popular saying that necessity is the mother of invention. However, in this paper we put forward a claim that invention and technology does not necessarily come from necessity but rather a direct way in order for human beings to be able to experimentally test the various scientific theories and discovery that have occurred (Headrick, 2008).
How, in the 1st place, could technology be defined? Starting from elementary years and when science is starting to be taught to schoolchildren, there is an immediate discussion of the definition of science and the definition of technology. In fact, such discussion of science and its definition are still being taught in introductory science courses in the university level. Although the definitions may vary from professor to professor, the template definition for science is that it is a process of proving hypothesis by using the scientific method (Pursell & Center, 2005). Technology, on the other hand, is an application of science. However, in this statement definition, we immediately recognized that there would be a problem of classification and taxonomy on what to consider as technology. For example, recent developments in economics focuses on using the scientific method in order to have economic theories, and the fields further proposes various recommendations that come from such experimentation and testing. Could this, then, be considered as technology.
In order for this paper to be more constrained, we propose that the definition of technology are those of science that belong to the natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. Towards the end of this paper, because of the evolution of machines to be in the forefront of what we consider as human technology, we shall be giving specific focus on technology as an application of science especially in the world of information technology and communication devices. With this formal definition put forward, ended the limitations of this paper indicated, the paper would now begin its main discussion of the history of technology.
In order to be qualified as history, we must look at the development of technology from the early stages of human history — and the earliest documented applications of science and the scientific method in order to go about with certain tasks makes back to prehistoric when the first human being used tools in order to solve daily problems. During this age, the main application of technology was the propagation of the creation of fire — including the proper use and formation of Flintstones said that the creation of far maybe a portable technology available for human beings (Hollister-Short, 2000). Also, during this era of technological development, clothing and the manufacturing of hunting tools are considered to be — at least by social anthropologist — applications for human technology. Therefore, if we are to stop about the history of technology, then it is indeed prehistoric era where human beans began to apply science and experimentation in order to make their lives easier.
Yet another application of technology that has gained popularity in human documented history is the use of wheels. Associated with ancient Sumarian technology, that might make it easier to transport goods from one place to another and was considered to be the most valuable technological innovations of that time (Fox, 1998). In fact, looking at the present age, the wheel and its applications is still fairly prevailing in human actions and everyday use.
Although there are many other technological innovations that are important at that time, we shall be fast forwarding to the modern era — those including the date of 300 A.D. onwards to the present day. The reason for this is that it is in this time of the most efficient technological advances have been made including the development machine tools and the invention of electricity. Machine tools, such as the lever, the pulley, and the screw served as the basic foundations and building blocks of more modern technological advancements. In fact, the most basic technology that we use in our daily lives such as the clock, the electric generator, and even the computer come from the application and use of these simple machines (Pursell, 2007). In fact, the Industrial Revolution, one of the turning points in human history for the adaptation and application of technology for daily use, was made possible only through a combination of the uses for these basic machines in order to do more complicated tasks.
Another essential focus for understanding the history of technology in its development and use in the medical science. Biology has for a long time played an essential role in research and development, and has in fact been considered to be one of the most important applications of science and technology because, if other technological innovations makes our lives easier, it is through the science and application of biology that our lives are extended and that we are able to enjoy more of our fruits of labor. From magnetic resonance imagery, to recent developments in bringing technology that allow for doctors to look at the operations of our nervous systems, technology for medicine has come a long way ever since early experiments by Greek medical petitioners whose only way as understanding the human body is opening to collect corpses, or in some instances even opening up living human beings (Staff, McNeil, & Library, 2002). Today, developments in medical science allow for doctors to understand human biology without intrusive surgical procedures through the use of imagery devices that look into our bodies.
Yet another new development in recent technology that is important in human history is if applications in physics. Before, the focus of physics were complicated mathematical formulas in order to theorize what the universe is made off. Today, however, that application on physics have come a long way including sending human beings to outer space, the development of nuclear technology in order to provide a form of unlimited energy for society, and even recently, the construction of the large hadron collider in Switzerland at CERN in order to find the basic building blocks of matter and understand why there is such an event as gravity. Although this paper was not anymore discussed the various technologies that were used in order to construct a large hadron collider into what it does, the essential part for us to point out that this would not be possible if the technology was not available in order to accelerate electrons particles in a large vacuum tube nearing the speed of light (Sterling, Bernt, & Weiss, 2006). It has always been the dream of science fiction to be able to travel at warp speed or create cars that float instead of right on wheels. Perhaps the discoveries that are made at Switzerland could provide the background and framework for future developments in such technology and the development of the human race for the future. However, in physics, much like many other discipline, small steps must first be made in order to ensure the basic discovery of future properties that would allow for further technology and scientific improvements to be developed.
However, among all the new technology available today, and they indeed in equal parts significantly affect human development greatly, perhaps the most publicized and the most popular applications of science into technology are developments in computers, information technology, and communications. The non-MySpace, Facebook, and other related technologies have allowed for human beings in the line to connect like never before. Such bridging the gaps of communication and geography could not have been possible if it were not for recent developments in technology in computer science that allow for us to be connected 24 hours a day seven days a week (Sterling et al., 2006). In fact, looking at the history of computer science, the inter-, and consumer electronics, one would find out that as compared be other technologies available in thehuman race day, such technologies have only been developed fairly recent for consumer use. In fact, such technological improvements have even allowed for the development of mobile phone technology which again, much like computers and the Internet, allow us to be connected to friends, family members, and the society as a whole through manipulation of such technology. In the past, mobile phones and portable computers have been associated with businessmen and only those able to afford it by paying the high premium of both the gadgets and service. However, recently, developments in technology of production of these devices have allowed for the production and distribution consumer goods and electronics to mass population. In fact, it is fairly difficult to imagine an individual living in a first world country — and even in third world and developing nations — not that the mobile phone or be connected to the Internet through your own computer. And all the there are much more developments and future needs for such information technology and consumer goods, Moore’s law of doubling the power of cross every six months alternately ensures that the cost of production and the wide availability and access to these electronic parts is not anymore a dream and goal that is difficult to reach but rather a imminent fact for society.
The history of technology could not conceivably be captured and a few pages. In fact, volumes and volumes of work has been published merely discussing specific areas of technological development and mankind’s history. However, that is not anyway the original intention of this paper. Rather, we hope that in a few pages, we have been able to capture a brief history and development of technology as an application of science in order to improve the human condition. Although it is also sure that further technological advancement would be met in the future, looking at history and learning from it, we could be safely able to assume that such future developments is a necessary future.
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Fox, R. (1998). Technological change (p. 270). Routledge.
Headrick, D. R. (2008). Technology (p. 176). Oxford University Press, USA.
Hollister-Short, G. (2000). The History of Technology (p. 320). Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited.
Pursell, C. W. (2007). The machine in America (p. 398). JHU Press.
Pursell, C. W., & Center, L. (2005). A hammer in their hands (p. 397). MIT Press.
Staff, M. I., McNeil, I., & Library, E. (2002). Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology (p. book). Routledge.
Sterling, C. H., Bernt, P., & Weiss, M. B. H. (2006). Shaping American telecommunications (p. 419). Routledge.