The Significance of Modern Technology

Technology is a defining element of human civilization--the tools we use, the weapons we wield, the documents we create. Human history demonstrates that sophisticated technology usually prevails over more antiquated means of production and communication.

  1. Types of Technology

    • Scholars identify technological eras with specific developments in transportation, communications, manufacturing and industry and tools of warfare.

    Time Frame

    • Human civilizations have passed through several different technological eras. The earliest stage of technological development, the Stone Age, is identified as a preagricultural, premetallurgical era that ended around 4000 B.C. Modern technology can probably be traced to the 1950s.

    Modern Era

    • Space Shuttle
      Space Shuttle

      By the 1950s, automobiles and airplanes were commonplace; telephones, television and radios were widely used for communications. Today, we use cell phones and computers for communication and productivity.


    • Advances in medicine add years to our lives. Nanotechnology makes it possible to build increasingly powerful machines to fit smaller and smaller spaces. Satellite communications make it possible for us to talk with anyone, at any time, from virtually any place on earth.


    • Modern technology has the potential to improve the lives of humans. Clean water, increased agricultural yields and cures for deadly disease all promise a brighter future when ethical considerations guide the use of technology.

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  • Photo Credit "4472 - 'Flying Scotsman'" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: cooldudeandy01 under the Creative Commons Attribution license. "Endeavour STS-118 on Pad39A" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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