Modern technology has changed civilization in many different ways. Humans have almost always been on a path of progression, but thanks to technology, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen a number of advancements that revolutionized the way people work, live and play. Imagining what life would be like without some of these advancements has become a difficult task due to their importance and our reliance on them.
One of the areas where modern technology is most important is in the realm of communication. Long ago, communicating with people outside your immediate location was a difficult process, requiring communication by physical letter and a lot of patience. The Internet has made long distances almost transparent, allowing users to correspond with people on the other side of the planet in an instant. Technology has also increased our connectivity, with cell phones and other devices providing an always-on link to the global communication network.
Another area where computers and the Internet have become extremely important is in education. Computers can store large amounts of data in a very small space, reducing entire shelves of reference books down to a single CD of data. The Internet also serves as a massive resource for learning, linking informational sites together and allowing the curious to search for almost any topic imaginable. A single computer could store hundreds of educational games, audio and visual lessons as well as provide access to a wealth of knowledge for students. In the classroom, virtual whiteboards can replace blackboards, allowing teachers to provide interactive content for students and play educational films without the need to set up a projector.
Technology has also had significant effects on the health care industry. Advancements in diagnostic tools allow doctors to identify diseases and conditions early, increasing the chances of a successful treatment and saving lives. Advancements in medicines and vaccines have also proven extremely effective, nearly eradicating diseases like measles, diphtheria and smallpox that once caused massive epidemics. Modern medicine also allows patients to manage chronic conditions that were once debilitating and life-threatening, such as diabetes and hypertension. Technological advancements in medicine have also helped extend lifespans and improve quality of life for people worldwide.
Technology has also vastly increased productivity. The ability of computers to solve complex mathematical equations allows them to speed up any task requiring measurement or other calculations. Computer modeling of physical effects can save time and money in any manufacturing situation, giving engineers the ability to simulate structures, vehicles or materials to provide primary data on performance before prototyping. Even in the office environment, the ability of networked computers to share and manipulate data can speed a wide variety of tasks, allowing employees to work together efficiently for maximum productivity.
- Education Week: Technology in Education
- MIT: Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-level Evidence
- Modern Healthcare: The Future of Healthcare: Information Technology
- New Media Consortium: Social Networking, "The Third Place", and the Evolution of Communication
- Immunization Action Coalition: Vaccines Work! CDC Statistics Demonstrate Dramatic Declines in Vaccine-Preventable Diseases When Compared with the Pre-Vaccine Era
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