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How Technology Impacts Culture in the Global Age

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  • 0:03 Global Technology
  • 0:59 The Information Revolution
  • 3:20 Other Technologies
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

In this lesson, you will explore the impacts of modern technology on the development of global culture and discover what this may mean for us. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Global Technology

We live in an amazing era. Experts are already terming this a technological revolution, one of only 13 in history, because of the way that technology is dramatically altering human communication and lives. This revolution is more specifically called the Information Age because so much of our creativity and resources are focused on new means of spreading and recording information. You know what I'm talking about: social media, digitally downloading to the Cloud, watching online videos as part of an Internet-based education. You know, those sorts of things.

This Information Age has had a dramatic impact on our modern culture, from the way we do business to the way we express ourselves. There is no way to know what the next major technological innovation will be, but it is pretty clear that technology is going to be part of our global culture for quite some time.

The Information Revolution

The technology revolution of the Information Age has had dramatic influences on society. These impacts have completely transformed nations around the world, in part because of the way that technologies make communication easier. For starters, let's look at business.

The business world was transformed by the Information Age because it created, for the first time, a true global market. Yes, people have traded products across the world since the beginning of humanity but never have international markets been so connected. Not only do major nations around the world directly engage economically but new technology has made international markets available even to the small business owners.

Another area that has been deeply affected by the technology of the Information Age is politics. For one, political groups now rely on the new technologies to spread messages and develop support. They have to take the message to the people, and the people are online. However, information technology, like social media, has made it much easier for people to connect together, share ideas, and debate issues. This makes governments more accountable to the people. In 2010 and 2011, discontented citizens of Arabic and North African nations used social media to form massive protests, which in some cases, led to full revolutions that toppled governments. This period was called the Arab Spring and was the first time that the world realized just how much could be changed through information technology.

The most obvious impacts for many of us seem to be the direct cultural influences of our new technology. Smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, 4G, social media, all of these have become integral, essential elements of our daily lives. Some behavioral scientists even believe that they are fundamentally changing how we communicate. Since we use devices to communicate, some worry that we are losing social skills. Other researchers observe with fascination the new languages of social media (jk, lol), full of their own symbols. Yet other researchers have predicted that the new generation is so connected through social media to a global culture of shared ideas that eventually all borders will become meaningless. Only time will tell.

Other Technologies

The hallmark of this era is information technology. That does not mean, however, that these are the only technologies bringing us together. For example, social media may be responsible for a new global economy, but we have still not learned to send physical packages via the Cloud. We still need ships and planes and trucks, and the technological advancements in transportation are stunning. Diesel engineers are working on developing semi-truck engines that will be able to travel one million miles in their lifetimes. New advancements in alternative fuel make transportation more sustainable. Wind power has just become one of the fastest-growing energy industries in the world. Robotic systems for guidance make transportation easier and more efficient.

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