Many inventions across human history have revolutionized how we thought about certain things and our behavior towards them. As such, defining the most important ones can be futile, not to mention an endless debate. Here are four technological inventions that helped shape the world and made us dream of just how far innovation could take us.
The Printing Press
Some credit the printing press to Northern Song Dynasty inventor Bi Sheng more than 3000 years ago. Others say it was a German goldsmith named Johannes Gutenberg who, in 1440, gave birth to the so-called modern-day printing revolution. Regardless of what the case may be, one thing is certain. Whomever it was, he did an exceptional service to the world.
The importance of the printing press lies in the speed and efficiency that it brought to the process of printing paper for commercial use. Its true value is that it enabled the invention of other instruments, like the industrial foil stamping machine, a multi-purpose device thatcan stamp up to 7,000 sheets per hour.
The World Wide Web
One wonders whether British scientist Tim Berners-Lee could have possibly imagined the impact his little project at the European Council for Nuclear Research or CERN would have on humanity. Could he have been aware that the internet system he invented would revolutionize business, transform personal communications, and, in essence, change the course of human development?
To say the internet is arguably the most important technological invention in human history is perhaps the greatest understatement ever made. One only has to imagine a world without it to see its geometric growth in size and influence. Only then can we understand the true level of dependency it has created in all of our lives.
Still, we must thank Mr. Berners-Lee for making the world smaller than it has ever been and bringing us closer to each other than ever before.
One of the biggest consequences of the covid-19 global pandemic is work-from-home arrangements in businesses in many industries. In the past year and a half, millions of men and women across the globe have been forced to either quit their positions or adapt to the new reality of having a job while sitting in front of a computer in their own living room.
Although this sounds like a dream scenario for many, can you imagine what it would be like if you lived in a hot country and had to spend hours upon hours with a camera on your face and without an air conditioning system?
Naturally, turning your air conditioner on full blast the majority of the day is good neither for your health nor the environment. As we all know, they consume vast amounts of electricity, the result being the release of dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is a price we have to pay to remain productive and continue to provide for ourselves and our families.
Everybody knows that the invention of the telephone was paramount to human civilization. The concept of amplitude modulation or oscillating current and voltage that Alexander Graham Bell first applied for a patent on February 14th, 1876, allows us to communicate with people worldwide in seconds, irrespective of distance or time of day. However, what Steve Jobs did in 2007 will forever be remembered as one of the most groundbreaking, far-reaching moments in our history.
Steve Jobs did not invent the smartphone. Japanese and Northern European companies like NTT DoCoMo and Nokia worked on internet-based, multi-functional personal communication systems for years. Still, it was not until the first iPhone showed us what we could do with a small device and touch-screen functionality that we truly understood the technological revolution that was about to start.
Four of the most seminal inventions in human history are the printing press, the world wide web, the air conditioner, and the smartphone. In a constantly evolving world, they continue to define how to transmit information, explore the world, maintain a semblance of comfort, and communicate with one another.