Technology is a term that has been used to refer to the development and usage of human knowledge to improve their lifestyle. It involves the practical usage of human knowledge to create new things and it requires the application of both the mental and the physical efforts of the individuals. “Technology from the ancient times has developed over time in the human race and this has resulted to change in the way people do things,” (Holdren, p17). What existed in the earlier centuries has now remained history since knowledge of the human race continues to create new innovations and developments over time leading to abandoning of the older technologies. This has affected the human race in a number of ways. Through the use of technology the populations of the world have been able to modify the order of various things. Through the technological knowledge, the human race today has been able to modify the various systems that revolve around us such as the communication systems, transportation, construction and also manufacturing sectors. “The use of new ideas has helped to influence various strategies and approaches to life and this has greatly contributed to population growth of the modern societies,” (Boserup, p. 32). This paper takes an analysis of the invention of technology in the ancient times and how it has developed over time into the 21st century. It also analyses how the various changes in technology have contributed to the growth of the human populations and also how it facilitates its existence as compared to the ancient times
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History of technology
The history of technology can be traced back to the ages where tools and also techniques were invented by the human race. The social evolution of the human can be analyzed by looking at the various technological advancements such as the Stone Age, discovery of fire, the age of pottery, the bow, the domestication of animals, alphabets and writing, discovery of medicine and also the metal work. Looking at the Stone Age, the human race had limited number of tools and most of them were not even permanent. This has been referred to as the most important stage in the development of the human race because it saw the discovery of the stone stools, fire, clothing and also weapons. The stone stools were made from materials such as the flint, jadeite, and green stone among others which were some form of hard rocks. This greatly evolved the mining industry as the humans turned to look for materials from the earth tunnels to make the stones. The Stone Age period also saw the discovery of the certain metals such as bronze, tin and copper. “These metals were molten and they used them to make various tools that were now more permanent than the tools they used in the earlier period,” (Helpman, p48). The tools that were made from the metals enhanced their weapons especially those used for hunting. Agricultural revolution has been traced to the Muslim community during the 8th century. The Muslims were traders in the global markets and they enabled the spread of the innovation of farming. With time, the diversity of plants and crops spread among the human race beyond the discovery of the Muslims. This brought various changes within the human race as individuals started to relocate to other areas that were productive for their crops. There was massive population distribution and vegetation became the main economic activity for most individuals. Farming was made much easier through continued discovery of the tools that were incorporated into the farming business. The human race now evolved from being hunters and gatherers and most of the animals were domesticated. This expanded the farming motives for most individuals who owned farms. The British agricultural revolution later followed in the 17th century. The agriculture of the British was basically individual and it involved enclosed farms. “Agricultural revolution in Britain led to massive growth of the population which reached to about 5.7 million by 1750,” (Carry p76). The developments of agricultural technology enabled such a population to be sustained and as more methods were discovered, the more the population continued to increase. With the increasing population, there was increased demand of other commodities which were deemed as a necessity to the community. This led to the increase in the production of items such as food and clothing. The landless laborers of the period discovered the cottage industry and this acted as a good basis for the industrial revolution another stage of technological advancement. Many industries started to come up in the major cities and most individuals relocated from the farms and went to the cities to seek employment from the factories. In the 18th century as technology in Britain advanced, new methods of production were discovered and this led to increased out put per worker within the farms. The industrial revolution saw major developments in the textile industries, the mining industry and the transport industry. The transport industry enabled the individuals to move to other regions to such more resources. “The development of the steam engine was a major source of energy for many industries especially the mining industry,” (Holdren, p. 32).
In the 19th century, major developments emerged in the laid down sectors such as the transportation industry, construction and also communication. Within the transport sector there was the construction of the railway line which simplified the means of transport for both individuals and their goods. There was development of other forms of energy such as electricity and petroleum. There was also discovery of many chemicals that were incorporated into the industries. Technology in the 21st century took a new course of scientific methods. There was massive research on these methods which helped individuals to gain more knowledge. There was an especially new technology developing in electronics which was propagated by the war. During this century there was the discovery of the radio, automobiles, computers, mechanized agriculture, nuclear power, health technologies among others. “Today the agricultural development has greatly been mechanized. There is introduction of the crop rotation and also interbreeding of crops. The 21st century has seen the continued use of the genetically modified crops which has increased the production of food for the population,” (Helpman, p. 57).
Demographic changes as a result of technological advancements
One of the major ways that technology has aided the growth of populations is by enabling the different means of food production that is essential to maintain the human race. The technologies that are incorporated into agriculture have led to the massive production of food. “Looking at the 17th century, the population figures were not as high as in the 21st century. The means of food production were low and un-mechanized,” (Sherman, p36). Today food can easily be produced without much effort of the human energy. Use of machines has made every thing very easy. With increased food supplies, this has facilitated the massive growth of populations across the world. The technologies that led to the development of industries gave good job opportunities for the human race and these acts as another source of income. For those who are not able to own land for farming, they can easily purchase food from the farmers using the earnings they get from the industries. In the 19th century the developments in the agricultural sector enabled the human population in the world to increase from 2.5 billion to 5 million and by the 20th century the emerging technologies have increased the population further to 6 billion. In the current century the human population is estimated at 8 to 12 billion. With technology in the 21st century, globalization has also emerged and this has enabled the emergence of new technologies and job opportunities. “Many of the tasks that were done manually are now done using machines and thus they are done faster and in a more efficient way,” (Boserup, p. 37).
Effects of technology on the Human race
The continued demographic development in the world has been blamed on the increased fertility rates of the human race. Fertility on the other hand is controlled by the economics of the world and also the aspirations of individuals. With technology, the human effort has continually been diminishing in its use in achieving various goals. This means with the use of machinery, most individuals needed not to work and this contributed to the large number of families. In the earlier centuries, the agricultural sector required laborers and this led to the creation of large families which created labor for the family. Today most families have discovered that having few children improves their economic status. “In Europe, the birth rates and the death rates were very high in the early centuries,” (Boserup, p. 40). During this time modern medicine had not been discovered. Establishing the demographic rates was very difficult since it kept fluctuating because of the two factors. The technologies in medicine have brought new methods of family planning such that families are now able to plan their families better than in the old centuries when such technology was not available. As the human race predicts a more expensive economy in the future the fertility rates are bound to reduce and thus a dropped population
Another factor that has been affected by technology of medicine is the reduction of the mortality rates. Since the industrial revolution the death rates have continually decreased contributing to the growing populations. Modern medicine has played a major role in ensuring personal hygiene for the individuals. The infections that the individual may have contacted were now easily treated thus reducing the number of deaths. Modern medicines and antibiotics have greatly been used to cure and prevent diseases in the human race. The combination of good sanitation and the modern medicine have played major roles in changing the world demographic figures. The cost of getting medical attention has also reduced with the developments in the medical field. The new technologies have also enabled the treating of various complications in the human life thus prolonging and sustaining life for a longer period. Today there are various ways of dealings with the medical complications such as chronic diseases and terminal illness besides advanced treatment for various diseases. Technological advancements have led to the massive urbanization of the human race. This has affected the economic status of most individuals. This is because the cost of supporting big families is very high. The products that are produced from the modern technologies are very expensive and the needs of the human race have continually increased as technology continues to evolve new ventures for the humans. “Europe’s birth rates have tremendously reduced almost catching up with the death rate owing to the economic status,” (Carry p. 93). Technology also triggered the immigration of individuals from one region to another. This acts to increase the demography of some regions than others. There is continuous shift of individuals from rural to urban areas while others migrate to other countries.
Technological advancements have led to the increased economic developments in the world. This made many things to be available to the human race. The ability of the economy to sustain its citizens through the advanced technologies lays a good background for population growth. The technological developments in other countries have also influenced the changes in the numbers of individuals in other regions. The availability of more resources to individuals may trigger an increase in the population. Increase in the food supplies is especially a major factor contributing to growth of the human population.
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Technology in sustaining human existence
Today the many technological developments that are in place enable easy sustaining of the human race. The transport sector enables the individuals to relocate to places very easily and at their convenience. There are a variety of transportation methods including water, air, roads and also the railway. Another major technological advancement is in the information sector. This has enabled the individuals to enhance the working environments by the use of computers. This makes it very convenient for the individuals to work fast and efficiently and this has enabled rapid economic developments for most nations. Individuals can also be able to communicate effectively without the hindrance of distance. Businesses are very easy to sustain since people can communicate effectively. “There is diversification of resources owing to the global markets enabling individuals to interact with other nations in aspects such as business and also education,” (Helpman, p68). All this factors have made life very comfortable for individuals in the world today. Other developments that help to sustain the existence of the human race are the mentioned developments in medicine. Individuals can now be able to acquire medical attention at cheaper rates and it is also readily available. Technology has enabled the medical field to grow and by its use in the field, the doctors are now able to sustain life for longer periods than in the earlier centuries. By use of technologies, many individuals are able to earn a living just by making use of their knowledge to create goods and services that are marketable. Technology therefore increases the job opportunities for most individuals. Most of the basic needs that we rely on today such as food, clothing and also shelter are products of technology
In conclusion, without technology, the many developments that are present today would not be the same. The products of technology have enabled to sustain and prolong the human race. From the earlier centuries there have been great transformations in the way people do different things in their lives. People used to rely on agriculture and hunting as their main economic activities. “The tools and methods of production that they used were not permanent and the production rate was very low,” (Sherman, p48). The medical field was not very diversified and the mortality rates were very high. However technology has made every thing so different that people are able to rely on the diversified economic activities owing to technology. As the technology advanced, the population of the world has continually increased. Technology has helped to sustain the human existence over the past centuries and it will always play this role even in the coming centuries.
- Ester Boserup. Population and Technological Change: A Study of Long Term Trends. University of Chicago Press, 1981, pp. 32-66
- Helpman E. Innovation and population growth in the Global Economy. Cambridge University press, 2004, pp. 45-76
- Michael Carry. New Patterns: Process and Change in Human Geography. Nelson Thornes, 1997, pp. 56-104
- PR Ehrlich, JP Holdren. Impact of technology on population growth. Prentice hall press, 2005, pp. 17-37
- William E Souder J and Daniel Sherman. Managing New Technology Development. McGraw- Hill publishers, 1993, pp. 23-49