It’s not often we use the word “modern” in History. We talk of the ‘making of the modern world’ when we refer to the Industrial Revolution perhaps, but in our new digital 21st century society, this seems somewhat outdated.
The reliance on modern technology in our society today is staggering. You only have to look at how the news headlines have focused on the issues for Blackberry customers before they’ve talked about the civil war in Libya, or the famine in Somalia to realise the importance technology plays in our lives.
I’m tempted to head off on a rant at this point, about how this shows us just how selfish our society can be- how the people interviewed complained about spending their £40 a month on a phone that can’t get them emails or enable them to chat with a mate on BBM whereever they are in the UK, whilst that £40 a month could help the humanitarian efforts in those war-torn and severely deprived countries. How their anger at such great injustice regarding this seems pathetic when compared to the injustice we see globally in our world around us.
Oh, seems like I did rant after all!
But, to return to the point, it is clear that technology plays an incredibly vital role in the emerging world of the 21st century, and that despite recession/depression or whatever you wish to call it, the smartphone is considered a necessity, rather than a luxury. That in itself isn’t a criticism- at least 25% of my previous blogs have come from my HTC smartphone!However, it is interesting to note that the use of such electronic technology now has a real history- one that is commented on, discussed, analysed outside of the bedrooms and chatrooms of the geeks and members of the “IT Crowd”!
The sad passing of Steve Jobs, founder and inspiration beyond all things “Apple”, has been met with an outpouring of grief, and an overwhelming sense of celebration of a man who will go down in History. Virtually everyone has a television, yet few perhaps know that it was John Logie Baird who demonstrated the first working version. However, the world of mp3 players, smartphones and tablets will forever remember the name ‘Steve Jobs’. The history of Apple and his work will be commemorated, celebrated, and perhaps even taught in the History classrooms of tomorrow as well as the Business classrooms of today.
Yet, to this point, the History of Modern Technology can be somewhat neglected. This may because it is complex in nature- we can learn about the surface changes, but to fully understand its’ journey requires a knowledge of the inner workings of both the hardware and software. It may also be because it has come such a long way in such a short space of time, and humanity has a hard enough time keeping up without trying to track back as well!
What is clear is that technology, for now, knows no limits. 3D Television, tablet and smartphone devices that can accomplish more and more. It moves so fast. I remember buying a Minidisc player when I was in studying my A-Levels, and showing off my new technology to others- how it could remember the name of tracks if you typed them in, and how one minidisc could hold 4 CDs!
Sadly, the Minidisc was to music what the Betamax was to videos- a transition to something better! What is cutting edge now will one day look old and dated- and hopefully, if we haven’t already, the historians will step in and embrace our “History of Modern Technology”.