What sets humanity apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our capacity to invent tools and use abstract thinking and mathematics to solve problems and conceive of new ideas. The written word is thousands of years old, and pottery, the wheel, agriculture, astronomy, and much more allowed civilization to take root. Later innovations such as microscopes, gunpowder, caravels, steam engines, vaccines, computers, and robots have made human society safer, more efficient, more wealthy, and overall more advanced than ever, and technology is getting more advanced all the time. The 19th century went from Napoleon to light bulbs, while the 20th century went from steamships to the Internet. Now, you may wonder: which major industries and field of study have benefited the most from technology’s ever-accelerating pace? Entire new fields have been born, and old ones are light-years ahead of what they once were.
Technology and Health
A lot of technology and invention goes toward health, and medical science has seen some incredible strides in the last 400 years. In the 1600s, microscopes were invented and were often used to examine small inspects. Now, we have ultra-powerful microscopes to allow for more accurate diagnoses and cancer treatment options, fighting disease, and a whole lot more. Drug test kits allow people to easily and conveniently check a patient or suspect for drugs, and the battle against cancer is becoming more optimistic. Older methods such as full-body radiation are giving way to newer methods, such as proton radiation therapy. Only cutting-edge 21st-century technology makes this possible.
A machine known as a synchrotron is used to emit excited protons in a narrow and powerful beam, and this beam will strike cancer cells and tumors with great precision while the patient is seated or laying down during treatment. The benefit is the huge reduction in collateral damage; very few cells aside from the targeted cancer cells will be affected by the radiation, and the beam will emit little radiation to tissues on the other side of the affected area. For example, using this medical technology on breast cancer growth greatly reduces radiation exposure to the patient’s heart or lungs. Not all types of cancer can be treated with this technology, but many can.
Even non-invasive medicine has benefited from advanced medical technology, such as the work of physical therapists. They can set up motion-capture cameras that record a patient’s movements during physical therapy (PT), and they can study the data on their computer with special software to assess the patient’s condition. This allows them to more easily design a practical therapy regiment and track the patient’s progress toward recovery. Meanwhile, handheld devices can use non-invasive methods to test a patient’s muscle resistance in localized areas and deliver precise blows to asses a patient’s joints without even breaking the skin.
Dentistry has benefited from modern technology as well. A variety of equipment types can be used to clean a patient’s teeth and perform cosmetic surgery, or remove teeth with minimal pain or risk, not to mention add dental implants. Modern dental care options allow dentists to easily find and safely extract wisdom teeth, and create effective plastic retainers or dental bridges or dentures for cosmetic purposes. It is now possible for a patient (who is missing a tooth) to have that tooth replaced with a realistic replica, seamlessly restoring their smile and making eating and speech easier.
Technology and Vehicles
This is a broad field, since “vehicles” can describe anything from a Segway to a skateboard to a sedan or a city bus. Overall, it is easy to say that technology has made vehicles faster, safer, more comfortable, and fuel-efficient than ever, and that’s just the start. Modern cars and trucks, including company vehicles, also have GPS trackers in them. Geospatial data analysts can use the data to monitor a vehicle’s location, either to make estimates on a truck delivery or to recover a missing, stolen, or broken-down vehicle. If a dishonest employee tries to run off with a company car, they can be tracked down, and a vehicle that broke down in the middle of a blizzard can be found (so the occupants can be recovered).
All sorts of deliveries, from grocery delivery trucks to furniture shipping trucks, can transmit their location and speed with GPS, and so the carrier firm can give estimated arrival times for that shipment. By now, it is standard procedure for shipping clients to receive timely updates like these.
It’s not just delivery trucks or company vehicles that benefit from modern technology. Consumer vehicles, namely cars and pickup trucks, can be found at dealerships and boast all the newest comfort features inside and outside. Many cars now have energy-efficient and bright LED headlights and taillights, and the car has computers inside which can control anything from semi-automated driving (this is now a reality) to the radio and auxiliary device input. Cars today are practically computers on wheels, and ultra-advanced vehicles out there feature self-driving technology. They can also connect to the internet and use geospatial data analysis to locate car wrecks or closed roads ahead of time, allowing their drivers to plot an alternate route to avoid those hazards. Not every car in American driveways features this cutting-edge technology, but it’s out there and may become more common in the coming years. Car repair shops can fix up these advanced cars, including hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell cars, though owners may have to go out of their way to find these specialized repair shops.
Technology and Marketing
This is a relatively young but highly lucrative field of technology that is bound to grow even more in the near future, and probably beyond. Companies big and small, in major and obscure fields alike, have a need to launch marketing campaigns and create advertisements to promote their brand and draw in customers. Old fashioned methods such as signs, billboards, paper flyers, and radio ads are still important for this, but the internet has become an incredible resource for the marketing of all kinds. And there are plenty of customers to reach out to; 3.8 billion people (40% of the entire world population) use the internet, and they are often visiting websites, looking at social media profiles, using search engines, and checking email. This is the right place for advertising and SEO.
This field is known as digital marketing, and many digital marketing firms have appeared in the last 20 years to meet the rapidly growing demand for this service. Digital marketing takes many forms from SEO content creation to video editing to website design and even internet traffic analysis. The idea is that a company will hire digital marketing firms and ask those outsourced labor sources to create and maintain their online presence, and start advertising themselves. Often, this involves creating an entire website, which means writing informative articles dense in keywords, clear and appealing photos, videos that are properly embedded (and ready to play), and a layout that is intuitive and easy to navigate.
Of course, a good website needs to be easy to find, and there are millions of websites out there today. This is where search engines come in, and ever since the 1990s, search engines have allowed internet users to find websites, videos, news, products, and even online games with ease, by entering relevant keywords such as product types, locations, and more. This can be done for anything, from visiting mainstream news websites (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc) all the way to finding dishwasher repair services or looking up good preschools. So, web designers and their owners have every reason to make those websites easy to find via search engines, which is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in, along with internet data analysis.
A good website will have many relevant keywords in its articles and headings so search engines can find it once a query is entered, and put that website near the top of the results page. It also helps if the website is regularly updated with fresh content and abandoned or neglected websites are likely to sink into obscurity. Social media profiles are also used technology for advertising, especially with the proliferation of handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones and the like. A company may outsource labor to create and update their social media pages on major platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and share content with consumers and customers with ease. This ranges from messages and videos to interactive polls and responding to questions.
Technology and the Office
The workplace has also enjoyed many benefits from modern technology, and it might be faster to list the ways in which business isn’t improved with 21st-century technology. Communicating with remote employees and business partners, performing market research, storing data, making phone calls, and accounting all benefit from computers and the like. Often, it is IT (information technology) professionals who will set up and install devices such as desktop PCs, phones, and fax machines, and offer troubleshooting services if something went wrong. This labor can be easily outsourced, too.
First of all, consider data storage, especially for larger companies with a lot of employees and clients. Paper still has a role to play in the office, but having too much paper means an increased fire hazard and clutter, and the risk of losing or misplacing files (which are costly to recover or replicate). The solution is to use scanners. A scanner/shredder firm can be hired, and these workers will efficiently scan thousands of papers with digital scanners and upload all of those files into the company’s data server or Cloud storage accounts, then shred the physical papers, which makes them easier to recycle. This prevents the costly loss of paper documents, and reduces clutter, too. Digital files are also much easier to send to remote employees, often via email or DropBox.
But what is a data center? For those not familiar with them, a data center is a collection of hundreds, thousands, or in a few cases, millions of computers that are all linked via ethernet cables and switches, which unites them into a single, massive, cohesive whole. These computers don’t have mice or keyboards or monitors, but they will sit on shelves and inside cabinets in a dedicated room, and workers can visit to add new computers, fix cables, or perform other maintenance or inspections. Air conditioning is necessary to keep those computers cool, but liquid coolant tubes are also quite effective. Such a data center offers incredibly huge data storage spaces, and any desktop PC plugged into one will enjoy a boost to its processing power, too.
Cables are set up all over an office to plug the computers to each other, internet routers, and to the data center, and holes can be drilled into the floor to let cables go through. In this way, the computers can share information with ease and access the data center’s vast storage space, but the options don’t stop there. Cloud storage is like an internet-based data center, requiring passwords and proper ID to access. Many offices use modern technology (hardware and software alike) to create hybrid integration systems that seamlessly unite the data center and cloud storage account into a seamless whole. This is often done not only to provide additional backup data but also to allow remote employees to share files more easily.
Speaking of remote employees, modern technology makes this strategy easier than ever. Some workers don’t like the noise or the dirty air or surfaces at an office, or they suffer serious social anxiety. If so, they can set up a home office, complete with a desk and PC, internet cables and router, fax machine, and a phone. From there, they can operate in peace, and they can use email and Cloud storage to receive files and send new material. They can also use live video chat in order to have a virtual presence at meetings or conduct interviews or speak to business partners.
Finally, computers make it easy for any small business to keep track of its finances and customer traffic, such as gym management software, or the data storage in a hobby store. Employees can have an IT expert set up these systems and give them a tutorial, and then they can use that software to run their business much more smoothly. Fitness centers, libraries, and small retailers often do this.
The business world is highly receptive to change, since any new technology, idea, or social trend will greatly affect how people perceive products or services, and determine what sort of things people want to buy. A smart business owner is one who knows how internet traffic analysis, social media, data centers, SEO value, and omnipresent computer technology can reshape their field, and make the most of it. Change is now faster than ever, so a business owner will have to put in some work to keep up, such as attending seminars or talks in their field, especially those dedicated to marketing and finances. But this can pay off in all sorts of ways.