The development of technology and society has affected all spheres of human life, including transportation, education, communication as well as personal and professional relations. In turn, all progress in these areas has accelerated social changes in the global community significantly. The new technological era in the history of humanity started with the Industrial Revolution when leading scientists found powerful sources of energy like coal, petroleum and electricity to fuel new machines and mechanisms (“Industrial Revolution”).
There are several recent developments that have impacted the development of human society: the invention of new means of transportation, manufacturing, communication and sharing information, and the emergence of active social movements.
The development of technology has seriously contributed to the ability to change the place of work or living, communicate with people from all around the globe, and receive the latest news and information on any existing topic. As a result, people in civilized countries have gained equal rights and abilities regardless of their gender, the color of skin, ethnicity, religion, cultural and social background. It is clear that these changes have led to the development of the world economy as well as increasing cross-cultural communication, tolerance and mutual understanding in international, professional and personal relations. Therefore, it would be beneficial to review several major technological and social developments and analyze how they have accelerated social change. This analysis can also be helpful in predicting the future trends in the evolution of humanity.
The discoveries made throughout the Industrial Revolution allowed to create efficient means of manufacturing that could produce large quantities of different products rapidly. Such inventions have accelerated social change and produced both positive and negative consequences for human society. On the one hand, it led to the emergence of a countless number of new professions, contributing to the development of education and working-class movements, professional and personal growth of workers, and the expansion of the labor market. The creation of new manufacturing tools also improved the world economy by lowering the cost of different products, increasing the volume of international trade and providing new expansion possibilities for business companies. On the other hand, it resulted in massive unemployment due to the fact that manual labor was overall replaced by machinery and automated production, contributing to growing social tension and increasing the crime rate. Thus, the invention of new means of manufacturing has quickened social change and development by creating new professions, stimulating education and professional development, and improving global economy.
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The invention of modern fast means of transportation such as trains, cars and airplanes, has seriously impacted human society and made the contribution to social change. They allowed people to relocate rapidly and easily, removing borders for travelers. Due to these inventions people gained the ability to choose a place of work and living based on their desires and personal preferences. Such changes resulted in both positive and negative consequences for human society. On the one hand, scholars, teachers, and students from all over the world have gained the ability to exchange knowledge through personal contacts, increasing the level of education worldwide and stimulating cross-cultural communication (Garrison). Leading scientists got the opportunity to work together on outstanding projects without wasting much time on traveling and transporting necessary tools and equipment for their research, contributing to the accelerating pace of technological progress. Business companies have started to employ the best specialists in all spheres of interest regardless of their country of origin, and open offices and subsidiaries all over the world, hastening globalization, creating more competition in the labor market and stimulating employees to improve their professional and personal qualities (Sharma). The use of new means of transportation has also led to the intensification of international trade due to their ability to transport large amounts of different products to any place in the world in a matter of hours, improving the world economy and providing potential customers the access to a variety of new goods.
On the other hand, it has also resulted in increasing migration of people to developed countries in search of a better life and new career possibilities, causing a higher level of unemployment, additional competition in the labor market and growing social tension (Sharma). Therefore, it can be stated that the invention of fast means of transportation has invested into social change by increasing the level of education and competition, stimulating scientific research, intensifying international trade and cross-cultural communication, and improving global economy.
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The invention of modern means of communication and sharing information like the radio, television, and especially, the Internet has seriously impacted human society. It has provided people with the ability to get the latest local and international news and communicate with others from all around the world instantly, contributing to increasing social awareness and intensifying cross-cultural communication. The Internet also allows a lot of information online and grants the opportunity to access this information from any given location in a matter of minutes. This situation has proved to be exceptionally beneficial for the spheres of education, healthcare and science because students, teachers, doctors and scholars have gained access to huge volumes of essential informational and educational data as well as received the ability to communicate instantly, which allowed them to consult with each other on any given topic or situation (United Nations). The development of communication technology has also allowed modern media to affect public opinion and shape social reality all over the world with the help of informational, educational and entertainment programs, contributing to hastening of social change. Business companies have used this situation to their advantage by paying media for advertising what promotes their products and services and persuades potential customers to pay for them, contributing to intensifying international trade and overall growth of the world economy (United Nations). Therefore, it should be mentioned that the development of information and communication technologies has accelerated social change in terms of intensifying international co-operation and cross-cultural communication, increasing the quality of education, healthcare and scientific research, and stimulating international trade.
Another recent development that has affected social change is the emergence of different social movements. Their aim is protecting the rights and freedom of all people, regardless of their gender, the color of skin, religion or cultural background (Little). The suffrage and feminist movements have provided equal rights and opportunities for women in professional and social spheres while the workers movement has been created to protect the right of employees against unfair owners and international corporations in all professional areas. There is also the environmentalist movement that aims at protecting the environment by increasing social awareness on the issue and forcing business companies to spend more money on decreasing the level of pollution (Little). Therefore, social movements have quickened social change by promoting the principles of equality and informing the modern community about important and topical issues.
In conclusion, it can be assumed that social change has been provoked by both technological and social developments. Such inventions as the automated manufacturing tools, fast means of transportation and communication technologies have shaped the face of humanity. They have allowed people to relocate freely, receive the latest information and have contact without obstacles, contributing to intensifying cross-cultural communication and international relations. These inventions have also accelerated social change by improving the overall level of world trade and economy. Additionally, the emergence of modern social movements has provided equal right and opportunities in professional, social and personal spheres for everyone.