History Of Technology: From Its Origin To The Present Day

The history of technology is the history of the creation of the tools and techniques that humans use in their daily lives. The first of these tools must have been a simple stone, used by the first human beings to cut with its edge and strike to grind food.

During prehistory, humans could only communicate their discoveries verbally. His discoveries, therefore, were mostly accidental. Among them, one of the most important: how to light and control fire. This simple fact was a great leap in the history of mankind, like the subsequent invention of agriculture.

Technological discoveries don’t usually come out of nowhere. For the most part, they all depend on previous inventions. Thus, thanks to fire, man was able to start working with metals and making new and better tools.

The Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution were three historical moments characterized by great technological advances. The same happened during the last century XX, especially in its second half. This acceleration of discoveries seems to have continued in this 20th century, in which Artificial Intelligence is expected to be a reality.

Origin of technology

The origin of technology dates back to hominids

Even before Homo sapiens appeared , human ancestors tried to create tools that would allow them to survive better. It can be affirmed that the history of humanity is closely linked to the history of technology, from the use of simple stones to the most modern digital machines.

In this sense, the historical context of each era has deeply marked the technology created by humans. Thus, many of the medieval religious beliefs slowed down scientific research, just the opposite of what happened during the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution.

At the same time, technology has also brought about real changes in the way of life of human beings: the control of fire caused a profound change; the Scientific Revolution transformed society; and the Industrial Revolution made new social classes appear and the world, thanks to new transport, was more accessible.

Technological advancements do not appear randomly. All of them are inheritors of previous discoveries and, in turn, will be the basis of new technologies.

What is technology?

Technology is defined as the set of techniques and knowledge that are applied following an ordered system to achieve a specific objective or to solve a problem. The term comes from the Greek, specifically from the union of tekne (technique or art) and lodge (skill over something).

In more common use, the word technology is associated with science and engineering. As such, there is no set date marking its origin. It can be affirmed that it exists since the beginning of human history, when some hominid collected a stone to give it a practical use.

Stone age

The Stone Age encompasses the beginnings of the human species, when the main activities were gathering and hunting. The way of life was very hard and the first human beings had to fight for their survival.

To try to improve their chances they began to use stone and bone instruments. At first, the goal was to make hunting easier, cut meat, and grind bones and vegetables. Over time, in addition, they began to be used as a weapon, to defend themselves against rival tribes and wild animals.

A key moment occurred when they managed to control the fire. It is supposed to have been an accidental discovery, but after that they had to learn to turn it on and control it at will. This allowed the food to be cooked, which allowed for improved nutrient intake and increased intelligence of the species.

Age of metals

Human beings abandoned nomadism to settle in fixed places. For this, the discovery of agriculture and tools to help cultivate the land was essential.

On the other hand, the Age of Metals was characterized, as its name indicates, by the beginning of metallurgy. Being able to work metals facilitated the creation of new tools, more versatile, resistant and simple.

This period has been divided by historians into three different phases, each with its own technological advances.

The first was the Copper Age, the moment when man began to extract and melt the metal that gives it its name. The result was the creation of better weapons, vessels or instruments.

The Bronze Age was the next historical period. Mankind took a step forward in metalworking and began to make alloys. The most common was copper with tin, resulting in bronze. It is a more resistant material that allowed the elaborated tools to be greatly improved.

Finally, mankind entered the Iron Age. This metal soon became the most important raw material of the time and gave a great competitive advantage to the peoples who learned to work it.

Middle Ages

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In the 15th century it was very rich in historical events. In the field of technology, he highlighted an invention that revolutionized the transmission of knowledge: the printing press.

With that innovation, the old method of copying books by hand disappeared. The printing press allowed documents to be replicated more quickly and, more importantly, they were no longer available to only a few.

The use of the printing press led to the beginning of encyclopedic knowledge and the scientific revolution. The Church, which had reserved the right to decide what knowledge was correct, began to lose importance in the face of reason.

This scientific revolution was fundamental for the arrival of a new era: the Renaissance.

Industrial Revolution

Although barely two decades of the new century have passed, technological advances continue to develop at great speed. Computing, together with digitization, robotics and the incipient artificial intelligence, is omnipresent in all areas.

Many authors claim that humanity is immersed in a new Industrial Revolution, the fourth or 4.0. Automation and digitization present great opportunities, but also challenges in the world of work.

References

  1. Cervantinos Studies Center. History of technology. Stages and outstanding inventions. Obtained from centroestudioscervantinos.es
  2. The thinker. History of technology. Obtained from educacion.elpensante.com
  3. TecnoMagazine. History of technology. Retrieved from tecnomagazine.net
  4. Buchanan, Robert Angus. History of technology. Retrieved from britannica.com
  5. Khan, Nazir Nawaz. History and evolution of technology. Retrieved from nation.com.pk
  6. Historyworld. History of technology. Retrieved from historyworld.net
  7. Lepore, Jill. Does technology drive history ?. Retrieved from newyorker.com

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