There are many notable advances made in technology that took place during the twentieth century. The world gradually moved from the industrial age into the technology age during this era. Once technology took hold nothing could hold back the flood of its advancement and the innovation that grew from it. Of all of the important advancements three standouts that are intimately connected are the inventions of the radio, computers, and the internet. The radio could be said as the beginning of the information age and the sharing of information worldwide.
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The radio actually made it possible for the first time in humanity’s history for an audience to hear a person from many miles away. Before the television the radio was a way of gathering of people and families to share news and the storytelling that would have once perhaps been told around a communal fire. According to Kinsey, between the years of 1909 and 1927 Britain, America, Australia, South Africa, and the Netherlands were all broadcasting wirelessly through the radio (Kinsey, 2005). During this time radio broadcasts were all commercial, but that soon gave way to other kinds of broadcasts including music.
Another huge advancement created in the twentieth century is the computer. The computers that are enjoyed today hardly resemble the huge calculating machines that were created around the time of the second world war. In 1944 the very first electronic- mechanical computer called MARK 1 was created at Harvard. This machine was a massive calculator that was fifty one feet wide and eight feet tall (Chee, 1997). The beginning of the smaller computers that we know today started in 1959 when Honeywell developed the first computers that used transistors. These were followed by IBM who used integrated circuits. The very first personal computers were built in the 1970’s with the computers that are recognizable today starting in 1974 with the first Apple PC being created in 1977. Computer technology continues to grow and expand creating increasingly smaller and faster machines to keep up with today’s fast paced life. The small seven or eight inch portable ipad has little resemblance to its humongous forefather the MARK 1.
The internet’s history is tied to the government and the Cold War in the 1960’s. The over 300,000 networks that cover much of the world actually saw its beginning as a system that was created to use satellites and radio transmissions to communicate for the military. The problem with the system was that there were not any networks to share the information. A system that solved this problem was created in 1982 and by 1993 the World Wide Web was popularized by nuclear physists that needed to communicate with each other (Chee, 1997). By the end of the 1980’s a number of mostly professional people were utilizing the Internet and email, but by the 1990’s the internet would see massive growth. By the end of 1999 the number of people using the internet was estimated to be 248 million (Cohen, 2011). The world has been made a smaller place because of the internet. People all around the earth can see events that are happening real time in places they may never physically get to visit. The many challenges that persist for humanity are made visible on a daily basis which in turn can be a way for people to see one another as extensions of themselves instead of enemies to be conquered.
In conclusion, the social changes that arose from two world wars fertilized a society that was eager to learn and explore our world. While the society of the twentieth century struggled to gain realistic views of humanity, technological advancements like the radio, computers, and the Internet helped to create a much smaller world. The technology that is taken for granted in today’s society had very humble beginnings in the twentieth century. That technology has helped to close the gap and erase some of the imaginary lines that have historically separated the world’s population. These innovations have helped to heal the collective scars of decades of war, proving to humanity that we are alike in more ways than we could ever imagine.
Chee, H. W. (1997, Mar 27). Brief look at the history of computers. New Straits Times. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/269127308?accountid=458
Cohen-Almagor, R. (2011). Internet History. International Journal of Technoethics (IJT), 2(2), 45-64. doi:10.4018/jte.2011040104Article
Kinsey, M.(2005). Radio. In Key concepts in journalism studies. Retrieved from http://search.credoreference.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/content/entry/sageukjour/radio/0