The Evolution of Technology Impact of Industrial Revolutions and the Digital Age
Digital Revolution: From Mass Production to New Challenges
In the late 18th century, there was an economic shift in Britain because of the industrial creations and ideas that were incorporated into mechanization. The hardship of working long hours and crafting things by hand was all solved with a single cotton mill and spinning jenny. This improvement led to many factories and new jobs for people. Later on, Henry Ford mastered a way to build more products through a process called the ‘assembly line”. That was the start of the second revolution and a new wave of mass production. Although these eras of change and innovation have impacted our lives today, the most important one was the third revolution. The third/digital revolution has impacted modern life more than any other ideas humans have had thus far.
The first industrial revolution was Britain’s greatest power in the 1800s. They introduced the water frame, the spinning jenny, steam engines, steamboats, etc. This was going to be the first time people were using machines and tools to get things done quicker, especially in the textile industry. Eric Bond, a publisher from Industrial Revoltion.sea.ca, says, “The advancement of the textile industry was a key development in Britain’s industrialization. It was essentially this industry that first employed the factory system. The raw materials used were essentially the same ones used under the domestic system, mainly featuring wool and cotton, but machines were now used to take the raw product and create fabric.
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With the use of machines and an ‘assembly-line’ approach, it was possible to make enormous amounts of fabric in less time and for less money (Porter). Yet while advancements in this industry brought huge profits and were, therefore, very good for the economy, there were many problems with how factories were run. Young children were employed and were given very small salaries. They were also forced to work extremely long hours in dangerous conditions and were beaten in order to keep them working (Kaufman).” There were many issues with the way things were being dealt with, and the problems started to rise. People already saw that these new methods might not work in the long run, which is why technology was needed to help reduce these factors.
The Digital Revolution began in the late 1950s, and It was the conversion of mechanical/analog to digital, which couldn’t have happened without early advancements such as the “assembly line.” Although things were easier to mass produce, it was actually hard to work due to more production coming in every day. Henry Ford’s idea was great, but it led to more work being done in a shorter period than a longer period with slower instruments. During the assembly line era, demands were higher, and supply was also limited, which meant more productivity but less durability to workers in the long term.
Technology’s Impact: From Efficient Typewriters to Digital Dreams
An article published by A&E Television Networks says that “Ford’s Model T, introduced in 1908, was simple, sturdy and relatively inexpensive–but not inexpensive enough for Ford, who was determined to build “motor car[s] for the great multitude.” Ford later said, “When I’m through, about everybody will have one.” In order to lower the price of his cars, Ford figured, he would just have to find a way to build them more efficiently.” This progression in the early 1900s allowed people to start thinking outside the box. It wasn’t until 1913 that Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line for the mass production of his automobile empire. His innovation resulted in reduced time to build a car from 12 hours to two hours and 30 minutes.
The economy was booming, but people were getting tired more and more every day. For instance, journalists and writers of this time dreamed of a day when they could write papers without using typewriters and stamps. Most typewriters weighed so much and became harder to fix as they aged. The writers at this time would work 16+ hours writing tomorrow’s paper because of errors/typos and the fact that they couldn’t bring them home. In turn, it would exhaust them because writers were sleep-deprived and could potentially create more errors if it wasn’t dealt with. The editors of Britannica claim that “The early portables of the late 19th century were slow, awkward, type-wheel machines.
In 1909, the first successful portables appeared on the market. By the 1950s, practically every typewriter manufacturer produced a portable typewriter; all of them were typebar machines similar in operation to office machines. Designed with lighter parts than those of standard models, portables are more compact but less sturdy. Electrical operation of portable typewriters was introduced in 1956”. It appears that history tends to follow the trend of “making things easier” as we get more and more tired of doing harder tasks. These trends lead to more innovations that could impact the future of the digital revolution. People had tough lives, and their needs only grew as the standard of life improved.
People wanted a change, and they were desperate. Post Henry Ford, life was better, but it was harder to get what you wanted, so people were searching for convenience. Convenience would help ease the stressful lives that many people were already living. Technology was the answer, and people couldn’t comprehend how it would come, but when the third revolution came, it didn’t just help people; it boomed the economy.
Digital Revolution’s Evolution: From Transistors to Connectivity
People were using more technology during this time, which made digital computers and digital records a common thing. Communication changed dramatically for humans because people were talking via computers, cell phones, and the Internet. With the rapid change in the social environment, we can now send more information faster than ever. This revolution brought the Information Age, which was the growth of knowledge and research through the World Wide Web.
In 1947, the transistor was created to help create a switch and help someone control the energy being applied in a machine or instrument. The transistor helped create the digital industrial age and held its foundation. By 1950, many governments, military forces, and other organizations were already using computers for day-to-day functions and protecting assets through the Internet. It was later, in the 1970s, when computers were used for in-home and for personal use. With more computers out, it opens new doors for programmers to have a chance to develop more applications and files for daily users. Popular items such as video games increased, as well as arcade games, which were getting the attention of many kids and children alike.
Phones were big, too; the first mobile phone was created by Martin Cooper in 1973 and was the first one to introduce the concept of talking wirelessly via phone. As businesses saw a trend, they capitalized on the digital market and created organizations that led to more jobs. The jobs were getting more and more people, and that meant files had to be kept in a digital record and stored from other organizations, so companies had to be very strict with their online files. In the 1980s, films started becoming more computerized, robots started showing up, and automated teller machines came out.
These new items allowed people to get better quality films, a better life, and easier access to funds without waiting in line. We also had many miscommunications at this time because landline services varied from time to time and were not really effective for calling long distances. The idea of analog phones was turned into digital phones by the year 1991 and had held a high demand from people. Phones were lighter and easier to communicate through satellite and antenna connectivity. The World Wide Web wasn’t introduced until 1992, and businesses’ demanded that all personnel knew how to use the computer. Therefore, life was much different as we progressed and improved the digital world as we continue towards the 21st century.
Internet’s Impact: Revolutionizing Communication and Innovation
Like Newton once said, “For every action, there is an opposite reaction,” and technology has positively acted on our influence to fortify itself as a fundamental aspect of our everyday life, yet most fear the opposite reaction of the magnitude it surges every day. The Information Age, also known as the spreading of ideas through media and research, helped us leap into the technological revolution. ‘Some have begun to call it the Information Revolution.
Technological changes brought dramatic new options to Americans living in the 1990s. From the beginning of the decade until the end, new forms of entertainment, commerce, research, work, and communication became commonplace in the United States. The driving force behind much of this change was innovation popularity known as the Internet.” (Leiner). The Internet has shaken our world and completely changed the computer and communications world forever; the invention of the first telegraph set the foundation and paved a road of unprecedented possibilities. Worldwide worldwide broadcasting is known as the Internet, a means by which users can interact and collaborate between computers despite their geometric distance.
Something as tremendous and expansive as it is nearly impossible to accredit such invention to a single person reviewed in a short article reads, “The Internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers, and engineers who each developed new features and technologies that eventually merged to become the “information superhighway” we know today.” and thus it is. Long before its existence, scientists had already predicted such a network capable of transmitting information through world-wild networks of information, and a distinguished scientist, Nikola Tesla, toyed with such a theory at a time when not many could wrap their heads around electric bulbs.
The modern day we live in now has changed drastically due to many improvements that have been applied since the 50s. The first iPhone was released on June 29th, 2007; it was the first phone that made our fingertips the driving force of our daily tasks. An article written by History Cooperative says, “The device was introduced as an iPod with a wider screen, controlled by touch instead of physical buttons. In short, it was a mobile phone and a device to communicate with the Internet. At the time, Jobs told the audience that this device would “reinvent the phone.”
Technology’s Dual Impact: Efficiency and Dependency
While revealing the design of this new device, Jobs took time out to make fun of the current smartphones on the market and showed off how simple it was to control a phone using simple touch gestures on a screen, and the audience was hooked.” This phone was the first to bring the world to the palm of our hands and allow us to communicate very efficiently. People now had, fulfillment for the smaller “needs” of the average consumer than we would not have this network-based world today.
It made it easier because we live in a time where the world is sitting at our fingertips; writing research papers has become second nature to us due to the high grade of info we can process at a certain time. Gathering info was much harder for our predecessors to find because it wasn’t digital, and resources made it tough to find exactly what you were looking for. Some argue that computers have influenced our sense of time and our perception of what is long-term and what is instant. We could be seeing a future where humans no longer need to think about a solution because of our ability to learn quickly.
Technology has connected our world and has fulfilled the ‘need’ issue without any kind of wait. Unfortunately, “To capitalize on that desire, companies are taking consumer anxiety and sprinting with it, offering same-day delivery services, eliminating the need to wait for a taxi and providing the ability to stream full seasons of TV shows within seconds.” Everything imaginable could be shipped to you in a fast and efficient way, worry-free.
Looking back at the pendulum of effects that technology has had on society, dating from the 1800s to now, shows a huge margin in change and growth as a society. The impact the digital revolution made has its pros and cons and is not even at its peak yet. The greatest technological advancement to bring about an extraordinary change to our world is yet to be developed, perhaps even imagined. No one now unfortunately, neither of us here today would be able to enjoy such monumental singularity and the beneficial components that it may have in the next 100 years. We depend on technology too much to not say that its positives outweigh our negatives.
Although our attachment to it has made us more social, we are more separated individually. With everything running through automation, we can only expect efficiency and speed. Tough times in the past are now replaced with instruments and tools that save human effort. It has helped to such a great extent that it’s making life easy and comfortable. Nothing else has ever impacted our lives the way the digital world has today. The third industrial revolution has made the blueprint for civilizations to live and co-exist with the digital world.
- Bond, Eric. “Textile Industry and Machinery in the Industrial Revolution.” Industrial Revolution, industrialrevolution.sea.ca, https://industrialrevolution.sea.ca/industry/textile.php
- Porter, Glenn. “The Industrial Revolution.” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/event/Industrial-Revolution
- Kaufman, Cathy. “Child Labor during the British Industrial Revolution.” ThoughtCo, https://www.thoughtco.com/child-labor-during-the-industrial-revolution-1774041
- A&E Television Networks. “Model T.” History, https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/model-t
- Leiner, Barry M., et al. “A Brief History of the Internet.” Internet Society, https://www.internetsociety.org/internet/history-internet/brief-history-internet/