If we look back on how our ancestors lived we can sense a totally different lifestyle. If they could come back and live with all our technological devices they surely would think they are in a completely new alien world. They lived such a simple life without our devices that it seems as if centuries have passed by. In reality most of the discoveries were accomplished in the past twenty years. Indeed we have assisted a total technological distortion. This change in our lives was characterized by a myriad of technological innovations, due to globalization.
Globalization is a wide phenomenon caused by economical exchanges that happened between the XX and XXI centuries. All this has led to social, cultural, political, technological, and health interdependencies whose positive and negative effects have global relevance. Among the positive aspects of globalization we must highlight the speed of communication, the fast circulation of information, the opportunity for economic growth for nations that have long remained on the margins of the world economic development. Globalization is the result of an economic process, by which markets, production, consumption and ways of living and thinking are connected on a global scale, that is to a continuous flow of exchanges that makes them interdependent and tends to unify them. This process has been going on since 1980 and it has strongly accelerated with the Third Industrial Revolution.
But...we cannot understand the technological evolution, and the Third Industrial Revolution if we don’t take a step back.
The First Industrial and the Second Industrial Revolution are two very important moments in world history, because they changed not only the way of production, giving a turning point to the economy, but also many aspects of society. The First Industrial Revolution happened from 1700 to 1800 and it transformed the life of millions of people, the most important discoveries during this time were: the discovery of the steam engine by James Watt in 1778, which was considered one of the most important innovations; street lighting, the first photograph in 1825 and the first locomotive by George Stevenson in 1829. The Second Industrial Revolution started around 1870 until the First World War, it brought a new revolutionary transformation in people’s lives. Technological development is a notable cause and consequence of industrial development: steam was replaced by the internal combustion engine, powered by petrol and by the electric one. Electricity guaranteed night lighting, disrupting the rhythms of life in the cities, the improvement of the chemical industry is not of little importance, with its related repercussions on the textile industry and agriculture. The Third industrial Revolution differs from the previous ones because it is based on transformation processes of the production of goods which in Western developed countries involved social and economic aspects.
Starting from the mid 20th century technological innovations characterized the Third Industrial Revolution and it has triggered changes that have produced economic development and social progress, the phenomenon started at the end of the Twentieth century and it spread at first to some powerful countries like China, India, and the United States. Now it is widespread all over the world. Unfortunately, some countries are still not entirely developed for using or having these technologies. This brief excursus wants to highlight how life has changed during the years. One of the first important innovations, that must be cited and that changed the world, was the Printing Press in 1455 which brought the diffusion of books at a fast pace, followed by the steam engine, electricity and finally, the means of mass communication, which is the process of exchanging information through mass media.
Technology led to many advantages and let us see the world in a different way; in the late 1960s Internet revolutionized communications allowing different computer networks to interconnect, indeed, it actually interconnects the whole world. Internet allows us to connect directly from our telephone device to the surrounding world. We are able daily to read in real time all the most important news from all over the world, and be connected every minute 24/7. Social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter enable us to relate and connect with friends and relatives that live on the opposite side of the world in real time. It also enables us to connect and interact with famous people, to comment, and share news. Internet has revolutionized our lives making it in some cases, way better, let's remember the chance to call and see people in video calls in distant countries, like Australia, America or Africa, thousands of kilometers away.
But are we sure that internet brought only positive effects?
Internet made our life easier and better but at the same time it pushed us away. We became less social, we have more virtual friends and less social relationships. Love letters became old fashioned, and were replaced by cold and indifferent emojis. Adults live in symbiosis with their cellphone, and if by any chance they forget it home, it becomes a real tragedy, because we cannot live without it. While we are in line at the supermarket, at the bank or at the post office, we listen to music, we watch instagram stories, or we listen to a podcast, we’re connected to the virtual world every second of our life but we’re losing control of the most important things that count the most: a smile from a stranger that passes close to you, a laugh, a hug, speaking with friends or family. Children are used to playing with videogames, watching cartoons on their iPad, that they don't spend enough time doing outdoor activities which are essential for their mental development.
This technological success connected us to everyone but it went out of hand… this success brought to a human failure, we lost touch with real emotions that are at the basis of our lives. When we go out for a pizza we prefer to stay on the phone rather than speak to each other. We became full of technological devices but poor in feelings. We’re always looking at the screen so that we don’t know what’s going on in real life, what surrounds us, who wants help, who needs a good word, a smile, or a hug.
Of course technology has improved our way of working, it has eased the way to search for an important document. In the past looking for a document in an old archive was not easy. Nowadays, archives have been substituted with digitalization, a fast and easy way to save data and documents. Technological devices, also, have improved health care, they have brought many advantages and improved a patient’s life with different and better cures. But technology and the Internet have many negative aspects, many threats. One of these is the accessibility to a lot of fake news, and also how cyber-bullying has become one of the most dangerous things among kids and young people.
Technology modified our life and improved it, surely it brought a lot of progress in our life in every single field, but it can be, at the same time, very dangerous; that’s why we need to seriously use it in a correct way, without exaggeration.