In the postindustrial modern world, or the “Information” age, we as a worldwide society use communication methods as our primary medium. We as a society have evolved to a point where individuals can transfer information freely, and to have instant access to knowledge that would have been difficult or impossible to find previously. This transfer however needs a medium. PED’s (Personal Electronic Devices) have evolved over the last 10 years to fill this roll. Like smoke signals, word of mouth, courier, and the telephone, PED’s have met with resistance from society’s previous generation. This resistance is due to a fear of change that has gripped mankind since the Middle Pleistocene, around 250,000 years ago.
This review will discuss the cost of this fear and how communications have developed with the following questions: 1. How has communication methods developed through history?
2. What is the cost of being left behind in a postindustrial era? How has communication methods developed throughout history?
Communication, and communications systems have been the key factor for development as a society. Starting with cuneiform, the first form of writing, our ancestors started recording our history. Since that event, the forms of recording and accessing that information has changed greatly. In the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Communication evolution is described as such: The reduction of communication to writing was a fundamental step in the evolution of society for, in addition to being useful in situations where speech is not possible, writing permits the preservation of communications, or records, from the past. It marks the beginning of recorded history.
Whereas the rise of book publishing and journalism facilitated the widespread dissemination of information, the invention of the telegraph, the radio, the telephone, and television made possible instantaneous communication over long distances. With the installation of the submarine cable and improvements in short-wave radio technology, international communication was greatly improved and expanded. In 1962 the first active communications satellite was launched; it provided the first live television broadcast between the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America.
Today, satellite communications is used extensively for relaying television signals, telephone calls, and special teleconferencing calls that might include two-way video and graphics along with audio. The 20th-century development of mass media has played a major role in changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. In the United States, radio and television communication is controlled by the Federal Communications Commission. The international phases of transport and communications are under the direction of the Office of Transport and Communications of the Dept. of State.
The United Nations maintains an International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which has three functions—to maintain and extend international cooperation for the improvement and rational use of telecommunication, to promote the development and efficient use of technical facilities, and to harmonize the actions of nations. Telecommunication has been defined by international agreement as any emission, transmission, or reception of signs, signals, sounds, and writing. Recent advances in electronics have made mobile personal communications widely available and inexpensive, primarily through cellular telephony. Worldwide computer networks allow computer users to use modems to communicate rapidly and inexpensively through electronic mail.
The proliferation of facsimile machines allows users to send printed communications over telephone lines. Because we are now able instantly speak, and share data around the world in and instant, our knowledge is only limited by our own laziness. What is the cost of being left behind in a postindustrial era?
As society moves forward, there are always those that oppose the change. This isn’t always a voluntary reaction though. For a lot of people, it’s simply that they have spent their entire life using an Inferior form of communication and it’s hard to make the adjustment or they just shun it due to a lack of knowledge. Some people don’t have access to the technologies need to educate themselves and are left behind involuntarily. Then there are those who simply just don’t want to accept change don’t educate themselves as a matter of misguided principles. In Bridging the Generational Tech Gap by David Perlmutter, he describes a situation in his business where older employees would fail to adapt new technologies over reluctance to feeling stupid.
He also mentioned how younger and new employees would not associate with one another due to a lack of understanding one another. This is not a new thing either. History is littered with examples of new innovations being shunned by a previous generation. From the early days of the Catholic Church restricting published writing because it cast them in unfavorable light, communication methods had to evolved. And it still does today.
Today our ability to communicate sets us apart from any age before us. We can retrieve any information from any source instantly, and the only thing that stands in our way of doing this is ourselves. One day I hope we can move beyond these trappings that we set ourselves in and let the come to us in any form it can. Communications is the key to our future and will one day guide us into the next era, whatever that may be.