The Independent

Technology over the decades

Bella Mittenthal, Journalism Student

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In 2017, around 223 million American citizens owned a smartphone. Ten years prior, the first iPhone was released. In 1992, the first smartphone was released. This exemplifies that in only 25 years, smartphones went from being nonexistent to being
essential in American society.

Over the past five decades, technology has changed drastically. These gadgets and gizmos have entertained, saved lives, provided shelter, and done much more. For example, technology has been used in schools, cars, homes and almost everywhere else. Furthermore some may wonder how much technology changed from when our parents were growing up, to now.

First off, technology began to develop into what it is today starting in the 1970’s. The first major in home technological development was the computer. According to “1970 Revolution in Technology” by Shashank Nakate, the world’s first supercomputer was the Cray-1, produced by Cray Research, Inc. After the Cray-1, companies including Apple and Commodore introduced their first computers. These machines were mainly used to track financial data, play games, etc.

Also in the 1970’s, automobiles and video games started to advance. While Japan began producing smaller, more lightweight cars, arcade games started developing. The first ever coin operated game was called ‘“Galaxy Game”. Also, the Macintosh was introduced at Stanford University in 1971.

Furthermore, in the 1980’s, America began to see further developments in
computers. According to Marshall Brian’s “12 New Technologies in the 1980’s”, Apple released the Macintosh computer. What made this product so special was its Graphical User Interface. It was the first computer to have a white screen with black font instead of a black screen with white or green font.

Going hand in hand with the new computers, CD’s were first released in 1983. This invention led to the development of Walkmans which allowed people to listened to music with a medium sized box at any destination. This creation also caused the fade out of cassette, due to the fact that they were lighter and more confident. Today we see the fade out of CDs as we use streaming services, etc.

Also in the 80’s, cordless phones and fax machines were introduced to the world. Users could now take a call on a walk or could send a message without having to stop at the post office. The cordless phones, however, initially came out as Walkie talkies that did not need a button. The first cordless phones created privacy issues between neighbors that were in close enough range.

Furthermore, in the 1990’s, cell phones increasingly developed to look smaller and use a further distance. Although it was not a smartphone yet, the cell phone was not the large beige brick that you may find in your grandpa’s garage.

Also, one of the most influential technological creations was the web browser. GCN staff described, “It made the web work for the rest of us”.

The invention of the web browser allows people to search on the internet. This creation has been used today every time someone searches something online. The 2000’s was truly the decade that led to how people use technology today. In 2007, Apple released the first iPhone. The creation of the iPhone would continue to go into the creation of the many different versions still being released today. It also led to the invention of the iPad which many schools now use in place of textbooks and paper.

Also, Facebook was created in the 2000’s. Being one of the first social media sites ever, it was mainly used as a friendly way to see how people are doing. Now, social media has been used for anything from business, to finding a new college roommate.

Finally, bringing us to the 2010’s, technology has changed dramatically since the 1970’s. From video games, cellular devices and social networking, lives of Americans were very different. Technology has influenced how people work, learn, navigate, communicate and live.

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Technology over the decades