Technological Advancement of Society

 

early-electric-guitars

I would like to analyze this question with an emphasis on innovation rather than technological material advancement. American Jazz guitarists of the 1930’s needed to find a way to amplify the sound of their guitars in order to be heard over the loud brass instruments that dominated the genre. This sparked the attempt to create the electric guitar. The electric guitar is an incredibly simple device; a spool of copper wire wound around 6 magnets creates an electromagnetic field when supplied electricity via an amplifier, and as the strings vibrate over the magnets they create disturbances in the field which the amplifier perceives as sound waves. This is a great example of innovation rather than material transformation. These pioneers used materials that were readily available and affordable to create a new entity. This did not require the production of a new material, rather a particular organization of already existent materials.

Interestingly, this technology has remained almost unchanged since its emergence in the 1930’s, yet the music industry has been incredibly influenced by the electric guitar – to the point that many genres would never have evolved in its absence. Everything from early Rock n’ Roll to modern day Prog Metal revolves around the capabilities of the electric guitar, stemming from the advancement of the early technologies. I think this highlights more so human ingenuity than innovation. The technology is certainly an essential component to this, but what really matters is what we as a society do with this technology.

 

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