Relics of Technology
January 6, 2007 11:19pm CST
Relics of Technology Researches and developments in technology are quite diverse. It is not that easy to predict the future, but based on past knowledge and expertise one can derive some meaningful conclusions. FAR ACROSS THE summits and oceans, blows gently the wind of the fourth wave. Tempests and tornadoes may just delay its welcome but the waft will reach and the rains will pour. Recent developments in science and technology have set into motion a transitional phase, one that will end with the mankind stepping into next level of civilization. During the first wave all focus was on wind and water, during second on industrial revolution and in the third it is electronics and information systems. There is indeed little doubt that the solid-state electronics and embedded technology has revolutionized the present day world. Contemporary renaissance started with the invention of a small device called transistor. The invention was a giant leap that put us in an innovative world of wonders and creativity. The first ever transistor was made in Bell Labs by William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattian and the year was 1947, December 16. Before the invention of transistor, the devices in use where vacuum tubes. The small size and low power requirements gave transistors an edge over the tubes. In a short span of time transistors, almost entirely, replaced the tubes, except in large power output circuits. Transistors were initially used exclusively for audio and video systems. Data processing and handling systems were still in their early stage of development. World then was analogue, but a digital revolution was still in the offing. Physical dimensions were great constraints to deal with while developing smart machines. One of the primary requirements was to reduce the over all size of the early prototypes. Numerous experiments were conducted and circuits were made more compact with the judicious use of space. However, experiments on device development continued and eventually led to the production of integrated circuit chips. Fabrication of hundreds and thousands of transistors on small silicon wafers started a chain reaction in the electronic industry. Designs were further improved and large circuits were reduced to tiny integrated circuit chips. There was a considerable reduction in the size of the popular equipments. Portable devices and equipments were mass-produced and soon flooded the market. The pioneers in Japan, United States, France and Germany accumulated huge profits. Electronics industry gained pace and soon became a global leader. The technological revolution had an immense effect on most of the state institutions, least considered by the social scientists. As a consequence, the tech revolution instigated creation of new markets, business enterprises, new desires and improvised designs. For more than four decades this industry monopolized the markets. Business leadership was reinforced and political institutions were forced to seek new alliances. The accumulation of wealth helped in further developing the existing technologies and also in many other fields and projects. One of the most obvious changes felt towards the end of the century was great control of mankind over nature and its many manifestations. Besides commercial products factories also produced improvised devices for military hardware. Communication systems particularly employed such enhanced devices and units. The need for better and faster communication boosted the trade as demands were on a continuous hike. The second stage of tech renaissance began with the progress in specific areas – digital processing and information handling. In the last two decades technosmiths worked extensively on computing and smart machines. Information became a buzzword and globally accepted indicator of state development. Information technology gained impetus and a new window of exploration came into existence. Information technology, as of now, is in itself a culture, which has many popular components including its own languages. So far so good – a step in the electronics and a step in the communications, two cheers for hardware and two for software, but what about the fourth wave? What’s there in the future? How different will tomorrow be from today? Specialists have propounded some theories but it will take some time to single out the feasible one. Our knowledge and understanding predicts that God of small things will ultimately prevail. They call it Nanotechnology, the messenger of the fourth wave.