Essay – three significant twentieth century inventions Technology, science and inventions have progressed at an exponential rate during the hundred years of the 20th century, more so than any other century. There is no doubt that the 20th century is one of the most remarkable and astonishing periods of human history for its rate of technological advancement, a rate that still continues to this day. In fact, there were so many new gadgets invented and discoveries made in the last century that it’s incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just three without diminishing the rest.
However, I believe I have managed to whittle down those three inventions that have had the greatest influence on humanity, both positive and negative. We began the 20th century with the infancy of airplanes. All of the sudden we were starting to shrink our planet to the point that it became possible for a human being to fly anywhere in the world on a matter of hours. Not only have travelling become safer and quicker, but aircraft provide other services as well; from fighting forest fires to overnight deliver of packages and chasing hurricanes.
They have also revolutionized warfare; turning battle into a long-range affair fought at arm’s length by machines, changing the entire way wars was previously fought. Of course, they’ve also been responsible for leavening whole cities demolished and bringing war to the civilian population – who had rarely been directly affected by war until the 20th century. Moving along the exponential curve we find our next big technologic invention, the personal computer.
It’s difficult for us to imagine our world today without computers. Of course, they have been around since World War Two, but back then they were clunky, massively expensive things that had the calculating power of a brink. Although, when Stephen Jobs and Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple in 1976, it changed everything. Today, of course, computers are everywhere and we have become so very dependent upon them that a lot of people almost feel naked without one.
For some, the computer even provides the very means of maintaining a livelihood; we use them to keep update and track of our finances, we use them to sell real estate and shop our groceries. Furthermore they are also rapidly replacing the stereo and television with their ability to entertain us with music, movies and games. The computer rendered the typewriter obsolete and made penmanship a thing of the past, but it wasn’t until the internet the computer truly turned into the beast it is today.
As the airplane shrank our planet to the point that we could travel from one location to another in a matter of hours, the Internet made it possible for us to be there in a few seconds. It not only gives us the ability to buy and sell almost anything imaginable, but also foments revolutions, and makes it possible for us to spread news at the speed of light. In short, these three inventions have beyond question dazzled us with their novelty and wonder. And it makes it hard for us to understand how our ancestors did so well without them, doesn’t it?