Ancient and modern human civilizations have both benefited from and been impeded by the technological innovations, inventions, and engineering applications used within societies to perform specific tasks.
For societies to thrive and evolve, technological innovations have become necessary, while at the same time the culture, ideals, and aspirations of human societies have shaped how those civilizations have created, benefited from, and been impeded by, technology. As technological systems are invented by humans and reflect the very essence of a population’s needs and culture, human societies/civilizations and their technology have become inseparable from one another.
The cyclical nature of society and technologies is one where each factor greatly affects the other, starting with human societies and resulting in the development of different technologies to meet the needs of society. Those technologies change the way societies behave and operate – which also affects and evolves their economies, producing a potentially greater need for more technology, resulting in a cycle.
This co-dependent relationship of co-influence and co-production has been the case from the beginning of history, resulting in two major forms of this synergistic relationship co-evolving, depending on the type of society in question:
What is Technology?
Technology is an application that is engineered or created using applied science/math to solve a problem within society. This can be agricultural technologies, such as with ancient civilizations, or computational technologies in more recent times. Technology can encompass ancient technologies such as the calculator, compass, calendar, battery, ships, or chariots, or modern technology, such as computers, robots, tablets, printers, and fax machines. The technology of the future includes advanced Blockchain technologies, smart cities, more advanced smart devices, quantum computers, quantum encryption, and advanced Artificial Intelligence.
What is Society?
A society encompasses any organized group of people living together in a community, which often includes some form of government/governance, along with laws, roles, and an economy. In ancient times, the latter often encompassed an agricultural economy, along with imports and exports, while such societies often had militaries and educational centers, and evolved into advanced kingdoms, and even empires with vassal states. Often, the most technologically advanced states evolved into great empires that ruled over other societies/kingdoms.
How Has Technology Affected Human Life?
Ultimately, technology has positively affected human life from antiquity until now by solving problems associated with everyday life and making it easier for different tasks to be completed. Technology has made it easier to farm, more feasible to build cities, and more convenient to travel, among many other things, effectively linking together all countries on earth, helping to create globalization, and making it easier for economies to grow and for companies to do business. Virtually every facet of human life can be carried out in an easier, more effective, and quicker fashion via technological solutions, resulting in fewer problems in one way, and more problems in another.
Improvement of Transportation
While it is still possible to walk to most places on earth, the advent of trains, buses, cars, airplanes, speed boats, etc. has made it feasible for people to travel to and from their required destination in much less time. Adding to that are ridesharing apps, such as Uber and Grab, which have made it incredibly easy to get to a destination very quickly and inexpensively. The backbone of any society is its infrastructure, which includes both telecommunication and transportation systems, so the evolution of both systems has greatly helped to shape the modern world.
Population Increase/Health Concerns
Despite the invention of contraceptives, the human global population has exploded, in part due to better technologies that have allowed for longer life spans, more abundant sustenance availability, and the management of resources that have allowed for more effective reproduction. Ironically, the presence of more humans is partly related to resources being more depleted, but also resulting in more effective management being implemented. However, the increasing usage of technology has affected some health epidemics that previously were unheard of, including the development of societal sedentary lifestyles (such as constant sitting), excessive exposure to blue light from electronic devices, and constant exposure to EMFs, which can result in chronic illness such as immune system dysfunction.
Along with the depletion of resources, one of the most notable negative impacts of technology is the great increase in pollution due to industrialization. This includes fossil fuel emissions, global warming, and cities around the world whose factories emit massive quantities of solid and air pollution/waste, resulting in large increases in cancer and chronic illness incidents. And while climate change is a highly controversial subject, many scientists agree that global warming is very real and is a threat to the human species. In this aspect, the best MERV 16 filters could help you with air pollution.
Areas in which Technology changed our lives
From the dawn of civilization, technology has changed – sometimes radically – the way people have lived, how businesses have operated, how youths have grown up, and how people in society, as a whole, have lived day today. This includes facets of social behaviors such as communication, travel, learning, business, convenience, and health. Technology has typically had both positive and negative effects on society, regardless of how drastic the effects on human behavior have been.
If the modern lifestyle could be characterized in a single word, it would have to be “convenience.” From shopping online from one’s couch and having goods delivered the next day to the appropriate doorstep, to join friends for a meetup via a social app without having to leave the house, to booking a flight and hotel across the world for travel the next day, tablet computers, wearable computer systems (I.e. smartwatches), and smartphones allow people to perform tasks in a moment, on robust apps via the Internet, that previously would have required going in person. Essentially, technology has helped people to carry out complex tasks in a simpler, quicker manner. Tech helps you get your mind off things, especially when you use it the right way, creating a great tech ambient on your house, with taper candles.
Smart bracelets and health apps have allowed a world increasingly plagued by chronic illness to monitor, analyze and alter personal health habits via computational systems. Hospital infrastructures now include computer systems with advanced security as a norm, while advanced apps may allow doctors to wirelessly obtain health info from patients via WiFi-enabled nano-pills, and even the Sci-Fi-like gadgets, such as the medical tricorder, are being developed for quick medical assessments.
Additionally, many hospital systems have online gateways that allow patients to obtain their medical records, or communicate with their physician online, nearly instantly.
The Bottom Line
Technology has had a tremendous, almost unimaginable impact on human life from the dawn of civilization. While it is near impossible to gauge the entire impact on human society, technology clearly has done a lot to make human life easier, more enjoyable, and more convenient. However, when misused or produced irresponsibly, it has had the potential to have devastating consequences and thus is not without its drawbacks.
As humans venture into the future, it is increasingly important for engineers to operate in a more conscientious and responsible manner, and for end-users to create a balance between the usage of technological systems with old-fashioned techniques for getting things done in a more healthy, productive manner.