15 March 2013
How has human intelligence and curiosity influenced the development of technology throughout history? From the beginning of time, starting with the hunting and gathering societies, technology always existed. Granted it was a lot different than the technology created in the industrial time period and light-years away from the technology we have today. It is human nature to seek out ways to do things better, easier, faster, and that’s where curiosity is tied in. According to Gerhard and Jean Lenski, “societies change over time through the process of socio-cultural evolution, the effect on society as that society gains access to new tools and technology.” (Nolan & Lenski 1999).
Lenski formulated an outline describing how societies change in the general case. This is called the “ripple effect”. The ripple effect is a sequence of events that occurs when a society is introduced to new technology. The first thing that happens is new and changing technology. When new technology is introduced, there becomes a specialization and division in labor. This division and people having specific tasks they do causes a hierarchy to be formed. The third part of the ripple effect is efficiency in production, which helps the economy. For example in agricultural societies, the invention of the plow caused there to be a surplus of food. When there is more food to go around, the population increases and grows. The fifth part of the ripple effect is increased complexity in the society. There are more specific jobs, education, and technology available. The last thing that happens in this sequence of events is that you see changes in the five institutions of a society. These institutions are family, education, religion, government, and the economy. As societies grow and change due to technology, the institutions also change and have different levels of importance to society.