The past fifty years have seen great leaps in technological advances. Although much of technology is a product of discoveries from previous centuries, innovations in use and new discoveries in technology branches in the past fifty years have likely changed the course of society. Technological growth has helped expand communication, health and medicine, to name a few.
Although the telephone was already in use, by the mid 1900’s the internet, which was developed in the 1960’s laid the future for communication of astonishing scope. The personal computer was invented approximately a decade later and its ubiquitous presence has given worldwide communication potential to anyone with access. Communication has helped create a smaller world but also one where education is practically free, since information can be communicated to and by anyone.
Advances in communication are not limited to learning. The personal mobile phone is sometimes underrated in its potential benefit. Imagine having to stop and look for a landline anymore if you need help. Video phone and conferences have become the norm as well. People are able to stay in touch and video phone has aided families, businesses and education and expanded social connection.
In addition to the way we interact with each other has changed, the way we spend our alone time has changed. Nearly everyone has a Netflix, Hulu, or a handful of other streaming subscriptions (or at least have the login information for one). Staying at home and watching TV is no longer limited to how many channels you pay for. Being able to choose what you watch, when you want to watch it will continue to have a major impact on how TV shows, sporting events, movies, and more will be available.
Medicine has been influenced most dramatically, beginning with open heart surgery, the pill, and transplants nearly fifty years ago. Since then, lasers have given rise to delicate laser surgery and help with in office procedures that used to be several hospitals days’ recovery time. In-vitro fertilization was first successful in the last fifty years and has developed to yield new fertility treatments for couples.
Included in medical technology are things like gene mapping. Genetic fingerprinting has practically replaced ordinary fingerprinting and also helped change court cases, after the fact. The work in genetics research has even reached a personal level. Consumers are now able to obtain their own DNA workup to find their ancestry.
More recently, GMOs have become commonplace. They are in disfavor with consumers for the most part but it was a technological advance that was significant. Genetic modification holds promise as a field, if it is ethically sound and possibly kept out of the public food chain.
Technology has advanced rapidly in the past fifty years, increasing lifespan and making life easier for many people. The next fifty years may hold more discoveries and inventions but it also might develop on the decades just past. Either way, technology is poised to continue being a driving force in society.