We explain and summarize the history of technology and its causes. Also, what were the technological revolutions and characteristics.
The history of technology is the historical account of how humans developed tools and techniques that enabled them to fulfill practical purposes. Because of them, they were able to change the world around them in such a way that their lives became easier.
It is to a large extent an important part of human history itself, as the application of scientific knowledge and its impact on society can radically change human life.
On the other hand, technology is a unique tool of the human species, a consequence of the application of its intellectual capacity and creative abilities. Therefore, the history of technology can also be understood as a historical account of human adaptability.
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History of Technology
A few years ago, not many, say about 5 million years ago, man had his entire body covered with furs. Then he lost it (although not in all cases…) but anyway, man found a way to cover his body and avoid the cold by covering himself with the skins of the animals he hunted for food.
Later, he discovered that plant fibers could provide him with shelter and invented clothing. He got tired of walking barefoot and invented shoes, he got tired of shouting and invented the telephone, he got tired of burning his fingers (and eyelashes) with candles and invented the electric light, he got tired of counting by hand and invented the calculator, and the computer?
As we know, technology manufactures objects to improve our quality of life in all aspects. What’s more, these technological innovations seem to emerge at a very high rate, just think how quickly your computer will become obsolete after only months.
Technological evolution goes hand in hand with science, although the two are distinct:
Scientific discovery encompasses knowledge itself.
Technology applies knowledge to solve a human need.
Technology is often associated with modernity, but in reality technological activity, the curiosity to modify our environment to improve our living conditions, is as old as humanity.
Prehistory | History of Technology
It is the period of time from the appearance of the first human being until the invention of writing, more than 5,000 years ago.
The first prehistoric men were nomads who were dedicated to hunting and fruit gathering. Their technological advances were geared to their survival.
Prehistory is divided into three stages:
The first technological revolution occurred about 10,000 years ago, in the Neolithic period, when humans went from being nomadic to sedentary and developed the first agricultural techniques.
Key discovery: Agriculture
We call prehistory the period from the appearance of the first hominids to the appearance of the first written documents.
The Ancient Age (3000 B.C. – 5th century A.D.)
At this time, city-states appeared in Greece and territorial empires (Rome).
The Greek contributions were more scientific and philosophical, while the Romans were more dedicated to civil and military engineering.
At the end of this period, technological development declines, historians attribute this to slavery. Slaves are cheap labor so there is no need to produce innovations that facilitate manual and repetitive tasks.
The Middle Ages (5th century AD-1492)
The Western Roman Empire fell permanently in the 5th century due to barbarian invasions. Much of the intellectual legacy of antiquity was lost.
In the East, the Arabs were the inheritors of classical culture, which they were responsible for reintroducing to Europe. At the same time, from 2000 B.C. to the 15th century in China, a flourishing society was built that produced numerous technological successes.
St. Albert the Great
Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber)
The physicians: Avicenna and Averroës
and the mathematician: Al-Karaji
Are notable from this period.
In Europe, starting in the 11th century, there was an intellectual renaissance with the establishment of universities and cathedral schools.
Many inventions appeared at this time. Three technological innovations stand out above all others:
Key discovery: The printing press
The Early modern period (1492 – 1789)
This is the period between the discovery of America and the French Revolution.
This period includes the great geographical discoveries such as the discovery of America, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.
With the growth of cities came a change in the economic system: the feudal economy gave way to the first signs of the capitalist system.
All this activity meant the development of new territories in order to obtain the raw materials needed to manufacture products. It also meant opening up new markets where they could be sold.
Numerous inventions were created during this period. Three technological innovations stand out in particular:
Important discovery: the galleon ship
The Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1840)
The first industrial revolution began in England in the late 18th century with the invention of the steam engine. For the first time, mankind was able to perform agricultural or industrial tasks without human or animal labor.
This invention led to large-scale agriculture and the development of industry.
As the means of production improved, there was a mass migration from the countryside to the cities where factories were located, which changed society with the rise of the working class. Early workers were forced to work long hours and had few breaks or vacations. This led to the birth of labor movements that began to fight for workers’ rights.
Many inventions and technical innovations such as:
Were created during this time.
Important Discovery: the steam engine
The 20th and 21st centuries to the present day
The 20th century was marked by an extraordinary technical development:
- The first airplanes appeared
- Electricity reached cities and factories
- Electronics was born and led to the creation of the first personal computers around 1980
- Nuclear technology was born and developed
- Medicine experienced great progress that lengthened the quality and age of life of people
- Space technology was born and developed with the putting into orbit of artificial satellites (1957)
- Man reached the moon (1969) and interplanetary probes were launched
- Mobile telephone networks were developed
- The internet appeared (1967)
- E-mail (1971)
- And the World Wide Web (www)
Many inventions and technical innovations appeared during this period, such as:
- Cellular telephones
- Nuclear power plants
- CDs and DVDs
- Personal computers
- Household appliances, etc.
- The PC and the Internet
The various technological innovations that have occurred throughout history have changed people’s lives.
Transportation and communications have developed trade and commerce and have led us to enjoy materials, foods, items, etc. that are not available or specific to the region in which we live.
In addition, writing, printing, and the internet have allowed us to:
- Gain more and more knowledge
- Get more information about the world we live in
- Move around the planet faster and faster
- Communicate with people who are far away from us
Although technology has made us independent of changes in the natural environment (except in extreme cases), we can still live our lives in the:
However, it has made us dependent on increasingly complex and energy-intensive machines.
Technological activities have an impact on the environment that is very difficult to predict and can have negative consequences for our environment.
Sustainable development aims to balance the quality of life made possible by technological advances with protection of the environment by looking for ways to minimize the environmental impact of technology.
The keys to achieving sustainable development are:
- Energy efficiency, i.e. saving energy
- Avoiding waste of natural resources
- Recycling waste
- and researching and promoting renewable energy
What is Technology?
Technology is the application of scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe to practical solutions of human problems.
- Improving the goods or services available
To facilitate the adaptation of the species to its environment and the satisfaction of human desires or needs (physical, social, cultural).