Inventions and technology are generally designed and established for the purpose of overcoming the limitations of the human potential with no exception to communications technology. The evolution of inventions associated with meeting communication as a fundamental need of people has been dynamic up to this point in time. For instance, writing aids in overcoming the possibility of losing knowledge or memory especially at a time when a person perishes, telephones are useful in carrying or distributing information from one place to another faster than face to face communication and television and radio allow a person to interact with millions of people at a given time.
Humans are considered social beings which serve as a challenge for investors to effectively find new ways for people to communicate and share information. Thousand years ago, communication was just intended for the purpose of storing knowledge and ideas and distributing those ideas to people in the immediate environment using the inventions of written language (like hieroglyphics) and the use of the alphabet. In the early part of the 21st century, global communication has been significant with the internationalization of the global economy through the support of the Internet and fiber optics in delivering the social needs of communication. Thinkers and inventors did not simply deploy science in improving the ways people communicate but changes were also driven by the widespread changes in the society where people live.
Communication as a Social Need
Communication as a social need started with the introduction of the early means of writing found in the trade records in the Middle East ten thousands years ago composing of bones or clay tablets as mediums. Around 1700 BC, the Semites who lived in the Mediterranean invented the first alphabet. Numerous inventions soon followed that provide improvements to the manner people are storing and sharing written information or message. A wax tablet known as codex was later deployed for the writing of the first religious book. In China, Tsai Lun invented the first paper using the bark of the papyrus tree in the year 105 CE. Printing was developed later with the invention of the paper also by the Chinese people. Movable type printing was invented in the year 1450 through the efforts of German born Johannes Gutenberg. This invention of Gutenberg printed the first Bible of the Christian church. By the end of 1500, a total of 40,000 books were printed and distributed in almost 14 countries in Europe. Graphite pencil, steel pen and writing mechanism for the blind were introduced during the Industrial Revolution for the purpose of coping up with increased economic activity at that time. The fountain pen was invented in 1837 by Lewis Waterman while the invention of the typewriter followed in the year 1868 through the efforts of Christopher Sholes. Chester Carlson, meanwhile, invented the photocopier which supported the simple and quick reproduction of documents.
With the increased understanding of people about electricity, the telegraph was invented by the end of the 19th century which were laid beneath the oceans and linked by cables for participating countries. At this point, communications technology started to unite the world. The first telephone answering machine was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the year 1877. The age of radio and television quickly followed in the early 20th century. The invention of the mobile phone was claimed by Martin Cooper in 1973 after long arguments against Bell Labs about the credit of the invention. Meanwhile, the introduction of the personal computer in 1977 aided to the invention and development of the Internet in 1983 which introduced the way people communicate in the cyberspace like electronic mail, chat, and even the way of doing business through e-commerce. These many inventions and technologies only showed that communication is a primary need of people that requires dynamism to the varying requirements of the time.
Pros and Cons of Communication Technologies
Technologies related to communication refer to the use of electronic means like mobile phones, websites of social networking, and electronic mail in interacting with other people. There were pros and cons associated with their employment that replaced all other inventions of the past. Some of the pros of the electronic technologies mentioned above include their accessibility, massive way of communicating with other people and social reprieve. On the benefit of accessibility, these electronic technologies allow for the creation of numerous tools related to electronic communication. This accessibility of people to the tools has produced the world that is highly diverse and at the same time highly connected. The advantage of these communication technologies to massively connect people is referred to as their power to share information with a huge group of people like email that also empowers academic institutions and businesses to send message or information at an extraordinary rate. Social relief allows people who are awkward in communicating face-to-face to interact with others electronically.
The cons or disadvantages related to these technologies include the absence of nonverbal communication, laziness, and the digital divide. The absence of nonverbal communication refers to the weakness of electronic communication to express body language and facial expressions since people are enclosed in the virtual world. In short, technologies related to communication like email and the use of mobile phones will not show any form of nonverbal communication. The laziness of people refers to the use of the technology to talk to people even when they are near to us. Finally, the main disadvantage of the use of electronic communications was the increasing digital divide since not all people are expert with regard to the utilization of technologies.