The advancement of technology has changed our society through medicine, military, and social interaction. Although technology does wonderful things for people, it also enables them to isolate themselves by giving them access to music, news, research materials, games, and shopping for anything they could want, without ever leaving the house.
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More than ever before in the history of the world, people have the opportunity to communicate across great distances and even continents. Technology also helped end the intellectual and physical isolation by allowing them to connect with all types of people and cultures around the world. One of the most important advances in technology was made in the venue of communications. People who lived in the rural areas of America could now keep in touch with their families, which lived in the large cities via the newly invented telegraph.
The electric telegraph was communication system that transmitted electric signals over wires from location to location that translated into a message. Families could now here news from loved ones, this used to take days, weeks, and sometimes months to arrive at its destination, could now get there in a matter of minutes. The invention of the first mass-produced Model-T automobile by Henry Ford, allowed people to travel away from their localities, whether it was to move or just to visit a new place.
They could also travel to visit relatives, allowing people to spread out across the country a bit more than they had previously. The aviation industry added greatly to the freedom of movement Americans now experience. The world did not embrace flight following Wilbur and Orville Wright’s historic flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903, perceiving air travel as too dangerous. World War I helped popularize the aircraft as military vehicles, with heroic tales of American, British and German fighter pilots.
But it wasn’t until after Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 transatlantic light that the commercial possibilities of air travel were recognized. The development of transportation technologies, however, had mostly a good aspect to it, allowing Americans to distribute goods and services, as well as themselves,longer distances. Food could be brought into the cities from the farms by using large trucks, stocking stores where people could go buy everything they needed. Starting in 1910, the development of a number of technologies gave rise to the modern trucking industry.
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After the war, trucks caught upto and passed the railroads as the primary conveyors of agricultural products to markets and consumers. However, it took three postwar developments to make that revolution possible. The advances in radio technology were also very important to the American people. Americans could see the experiences they would previously only read about in newspapers or heard via word of mouth. This exchange of information was also immediate, whereas having to wait for a printed version of the news could take hours, days, weeks, or even longer.
The radio also had important applications militarily. Military commanders could now relay information to their troops in the battlefield almost instantaneously. Numerous military applications were developed, including direct communication with airplanes. The war also exposed thousands of service personnel to the on-going advances in radio technology, and even saw a few experiments with broadcasting entertainment to the troops. The aviation industry added greatly to the freedom of movement Americans now experience. After the invention of flight, Americans were free to fly.
Americans could go anywhere in the world now, allowing them to explore every country and culture about which they wished to learn. Realizing the dream of flight was more than a story of technology; it had important cultural consequences as well. The brilliant demonstrations by the Wright Brothers enabled those who followed them to use flight for a variety of reasons besides getting from point A to point B without touching the ground. These included racial uplift (Bessie Coleman as the first African American female pilot in 1920).
Personal adventurer (Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic for the first time in 1927), gender equalization (Amelia Earhart becoming the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928). Commercial gain (engine manufacturers, mechanics, and pilots all contributing to the airlines industry), African American equality (the Tuskegee squadron of African American pilots in World War II), military superiority (the development of the United States Air Force in 1947), and eventually space exploration NASA landing on the moon in 1969 Bowles, 2011).
Another service long sought by farmers was electricity and its accompanying equipment and conveniences. Though electric service was becoming more common in cities in the early 1900s, electric lines were not being extended into rural areas. Companies felt that it cost too much to build lines to farms and small towns with little promise of financial return. This changed only with the creation of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935. Subsidized by the federal government, local cooperatives were organized to build rural distribution systems.
Though some farmers and power companies feared the REA as a socialistic enterprise, it brought electrical power to nearly every part of the United States by 1950 (Danbom, 1995). Technology has brought all of humanity together, and nearly everything can be watched live on television, the war in the Middle East, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and people dying of starvation and disease in Africa. Whereas it once took days or weeks for news to travel and a year for an influenza epidemic to spread, news can now be transmitted instantaneously.
Technology propelled the nation through these tumultuous times, and the ripples from this century and a half of America’s history are still felt strongly today. Without a doubt, technological innovation is the cornerstone of the foundation which supports America’s end of physical and intellectual isolation and the country’s continuing involvement with technological evolution. In conclusion, there is no doubt that technological change brings about social change.
The American people have made vast advancements in the technological world over the years, American society has adapted well to taking in the new changes with undeniably open arms. New pieces of technology are seemingly making life more simple and everyday tasks a smidgen easier with each newly released software update, society is becoming dependent on this growing trend. Technology is not a bad thing; obviously, it makes the lives of everyone who utilizes it better. However, as our society slowly submerges itself into the world of becoming solely dependent n a piece of machinery to accomplish a task that was done manually over the years.