Half a Century of Communication Technology Acceleration

Nelt avatar Nelt 29.10.2021.

Author: Nada Stamatović, Corporate Communications Specialist, Nelt Group

Can you imagine life without a mobile phone, internet, social networks, TV? Did you ever wonder when communication started or how it started? Evolution has gone through different phases but the ultimate acceleration has occurred during the last 50 years.

Communication has existed as long as mankind. The manner in which it is realized is considered crucial in the development of the human species. Verbal communication has developed between 50 and 30.000 BC. The first use of symbols in 30.000 BC, such as cave pictures and petroglyphs can be considered as the first application of technologies in communication. Hieroglyphs, cuneiform, the alphabet – have enabled better communication, understanding and transfer of knowledge through written content.

It took three millennia for the revolution to occur in the manner in which written contents were created. It was ushered in by the Gutenberg printing press machine. This enabled mass production. The 19th and the first half of the 20th century brought photography, the telegraph, telephone, film, radio and television enabling mass communication and globalization.

The appearance of PCs in 1975, mobile telephones in 1973 and later the internet in 1989 inspired new era of changes in social and political life, corporate management styles, family ties and work habits.

Changes are happening to us on the fly as we try to quickly incorporate them in our private and business life. This historical evolution which is happening to us in real time, raises numerous questions. Do we understand each other better today? Are we better informed? Has the mobile phone really become our extended arm, an inseparable part of our body? Are we masters or servants of new technologies? What have we gained and what have we lost?

Video conferencing, distance learning, viber, whatsаpp, social networks and numerous other applications are emerging as a communication need. Meetings are held through zooms or teams. We talk with our family and friends by looking at each other on displays. Online Sales have given a new dimension to informing, consuming and armchair shopping.

Communication continues to connect society, corporations, families, science circles… Availability of information and speed in which it can be accessed is really fascinating. What is questionable is how we use them. Are the sources credible, is the information accurate? Virality, i.e. speed of dissemination and sharing of information with the help of social networks is accelerating at a whirlwind pace. If you add to that the possibility of their additional transformation during transmission, as the end result, you get a large number of misinformed people with opinions formed base on incorrect information. This is something we are facing each day. During the pandemic, especially. It has clearly shown us that knowledge is power and that lack of knowledge can be dangerous.

“No human ability has been so crucial to the development of civilization as the ability to gather, exchange, and apply knowledge. Civilization was made possible only by the process of human communication”, said the genius Frederick Williams.

However, every medal has two sides.  “Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate. You can use all the quantitative data you can get, but you still have to distrust it and use your own intelligence and judgment”, said Alan Toffler, an American futurist and writer, well known for his comments on the digital and communication revolution.

Will we use the information literally or will we think critically? Will we be masters or servants of new technologies? This depends on us.