The use of technology was a key turning point in the evolutionary history of man. Many define it as one of the key features that began our trek to the separation between us and other living beings. Around 2.5 million years ago man created his first primitive tool, and in doing so forced human kind down a very different path.(historyworld.net) With these newfound machines, man rose above other animals. He gained the ability to control the world around him, not merely accepting what was thrown in his path. It was through these devices that man was able to create the newfound idea of culture and further the division between him and so call “non advanced” life.

These once primitive tools however, have evolved with us to an extraordinary level into what is now modern technology. With these advancements come many benefits to society. Man now has the ability to influence his surroundings. We no longer have to search for food but can instead make it ourselves. We now have independence from the Earth, and we don’t have to solely rely on luck for survival. We can now complete tasks that are beyond any amount of human strength or willpower. Technology allows us communicate world-wide and draw attention and help where it is needed. More than any of these however is the fact that each person has gained access to a vast amount of shared knowledge. With modern advancements such as book printing and the internet, information from both the past and the present can be transferred to anybody anywhere in the world.  It is through this shared knowledge that society is able to expand and build on itself.

With all these positives however come many fallbacks. Early on, man used basic tools to help control nature and the world around him, however in today’s society this is not the case. We no longer simply interact with our surroundings, we have become accustomed to dominating our environment. Tools are no longer used simply as a way to survive, but rather as a means of pleasure. We extract millions of gallons of petroleum from the ground each year so that our cars can burn it as fuel, polluting our air in the process. We destroy thousands of acres of forest every day in order to produce wooden building materials. We use construction equipment in order to shape the land to our needs, disrupting entire ecosystems as we go. All of this power has been given to us through the use and advancement of technology.

More concerning than any of these facts however, is man’s use of tools as weapons. We use guns, bombs, mines, tanks, and a vast number of other machines in order to kill, maim, and strike fear in one another. With the creation of nuclear weapons, man gained, for the first time in history, the ability to completely erase himself from the face of the Earth. Man can now be his own destroyer. It is clear to see the once basic tools that helped man divide from animal have become something very different. Whether they will serve us mainly for good or for bad is a question for future generations to decide.

 

Sources:

http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab11

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