An introduction to new technologies
At the center of the material culture of any group is technology. Everything a party member makes, and the process used to craft that item, is technology. It is clear that such a vast aspect of culture will have a profound impact on society. Emerging technologies continue to advance the way people interact, from everyday conversation to mass distribution.
In general, emerging technologies are small changes from what is already in place. From time to time, however, these changes can have a significant impact on society as we know it. These changes are now defined by the term “new technology”. In the early 1900s, the new technology was the automobile. Today, these are usually computers and other mass media devices.
The importance of this new technology, however, does not lie in the article itself. On the contrary, the technology available to a society sets the stage for other non-material cultures. Technology has an impact on the way people think and on their relationships with each other. A good model of this is the phone technology. Before this innovation, people had to wait days or weeks to transfer information through the post or courier. Often, citizens living in the rural areas of the south did not receive news about elections, war or other important events. With the phone, information can be transferred instantly, and decisions and progress can be made much faster based on the information.
For much of human history, communication was slow. For this reason, certain sects of people tend to develop distinct lifestyles. An extreme example of this would be the Tasmanians, who were isolated on an island off the coast of Australia. Their lack of contact with other humans has resulted in a lack of knowledge of what clothing is and how to make fire. Even today, we can see the legacy of this type of isolation, as many cultures still have outdated customs and rituals that would not be considered relevant in modern American society. While the tribal dances and ritual drumming of New Guinea seem ridiculous to Americans today, it is simply the result of stepwise advances in communication.
The rate at which a society progresses largely depends on the rate of technological advancement of that society. Communication, primarily, has a huge impact on how quickly a group of people move forward. When information is exchanged at a higher rate, information about the latest fads, political elections and new media can be handled much more effectively, reaching more people in less time.