Narissa Kunkudatharn ComparingRevolutions in Society Havelock Ellis said “All civilization has from time to time become a thin crust over avolcano of revolution.” Indeed this is true of both the Industrial Revolution and DigitalRevolution. Both represented extraordinary transitions forward in the story of humancivilization and evolution. The Industrial Revolution which began in 1750 in Great Britainushered in fundamental changes in technology and society. New inventions and techniquesin technology, agriculture, transportation, and economic policies brought about change inthe social structure prevalent at the time. More than 250 years later the Digital Revolutionbrought another major shift in the way humans communicate. The Digital Revolutionrepresents a deep shift in the tide of information. Sounds, images, movements, thoughtprocesses, information and knowledge are transferred into data instantly, spawning newinventions and networks in technology and education. This forced humans to adapt to neweconomic and social systems. Therefore, both revolutions have increased humanproductivity and capability through technological advancements that improved economicsystems, but at the same time they spawned industrial and digital divides in society. The Industrial Revolution was propelled by new ideas and inventions that spearheaded dramatic change that existed in economic and social systems in the mid-18thcentury. Significant new inventions in the field of technology such as a steam engineushered in an era of mechanization. For the first time in history manufacturing transitionedfrom cottage system to factory system. This ushered in the age of large scale production.Furthermore, it brought about economies of scale where goods were being sold at morereasonable prices. In addition, transportation was revolutionized by the invention of thesteam engine. Steam ships and locomotives were built that allowed transportation ofnatural resources, goods and people at a rate never before seen. This increased economicactivity improved standards of living, allowing society to achieve sustained growth. Amassive shift in social structure created a strong trading class in Britain and rest of theworld. With improved production, communication and transportation systems, theIndustrial Revolution introduced the concept of globalization to the world. On the other hand, the Industrial Revolution placed more emphasis on improvingeconomic system at the expense of social conditions. As the economy improved thedistension between social classes became more apparent as the income gap betweenbusinessman and the work force widened. The enclosure movement forced many people offarms and into the cities. With a larger pool of workers available businessman reducedstandards of living by lowering wages. Exploitation became a common seen social evil. Inaddition, the movement of large number of people into the cities caused populationexplosion and rapid urbanization in cities that were unprepared for it. Slums flourished withunhygienic systems caused by overcrowding. Diseases spread easily and children were sentto factories to work instead of school. As such the Industrial Revolution is also responsiblefor causing strata in society based on economic situation of individuals. Like the Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution also brought profound changesin information and interconnectedness that changed the way humans work and think. As itnames suggest digital age brought rapid digitization that allowed humans to access sounds
Narissa Kunkudatharnimages information through interactive and sensory means. It led to the introduction of newdigital devices such as computers, digital phones, internet and much more. Information andcommunication can be processed at revolutionary new speeds. Communication and use ofthe internet is instant, facilitating trade and economy, rendering the world borderless. Theway individuals and businesses, local or international, interact has pushed mankind into anera of viable globalization and interdependent economics all over the world. Productivityand efficiency of technology has improved the way businesses perform. In addition, thespeed and visibility of the Digital Revolution has led to increase innovation and lowertechnology cost making it accessible to all strata of society. New concepts such as socialmedia and networking are now playing vital roles in society and to mobilize individualstowards social empowerment. The Digital Revolution has impacted many aspects of society, community and humanrelationships. The internet, social media, networking and the use of smartphones has led torapid information overload. This has been accelerated by the transition of mainstreammedia into online journalism and digital press, and has led to media saturation.Furthermore, with increased use of emails, phone calls and faxes, workers, employees,families and people need virtually know face to face communications leading to socialisolation. The Digital Revolution has also led to the rise of new dangers such as privacyinvasion and internet predators that cause lasting economic and social damage. The rise ofobjectionable content on the internet and social media the proliferation of information ontaboo topics such as pornography and terrorism and other violent activities further add anelement of danger that threaten the safety and evolution of humanity. The main purpose of any revolution is to bring about radical change, that is usuallymeant to be positive in the long run. Therefore, it is unarguable that both the IndustrialRevolution and the Digital Revolution brought about an influx of new ideas and innovationsthat revolutionized society and economy. Without the Industrial Revolution, perhaps wewould still be living in a world of sailing ships, workhouses, no running water or electricityand certainly no computers. Therefore, the Industrial Revolution that brought about majorchanges in the physical world around us was vital for human evolution. It empowered manto think act bigger than ever before. On the other hand, the digital revolution, which we arestill experiencing, is a natural evolution of changes and advancements in human thoughtand action. In my opinion, without the Industrial Revolution the Digital Revolution wouldnot have been possible. Just as the Industrial Revolution brought in mechanization andmachinery the Digital Revolution has help to weave speed, efficiency and technologicalrestructuring into the fabric of human civilization.
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