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Technology In 20th Century Essay

914 words - 4 pages

The introduction of technological advancements in the early 20th century changed the nature of European society. Technology improved quality of life through advancements in transportation and product engineering, however advancements also proved that they could improve the efficiency of warfare and killing and introduce increased levels of societal alienation. Technological advancements in the early 20th century demonstrated the dual nature of technology in a modernized society in that it had the ability to improve life and also the power to destroy it. Automobiles medicinal advancements were juxtaposed with military applications while the speed at which the urban environment operated increased steadily creating alienation through anonymity and unstable social constructs. Technological advancement therefore served a dual purpose in the early 20th century through the convenience innovation promised yet creating hosts of new problems which are symbolic of a modern lifestyle.
Industrialization increased the need for specialized factory labor in urban environments. The invention of the assembly line gave rise to the concept of taylorism, or job specialization within a factory setting.1 Taylorism dictated that each individual had a singular job to perform which contributed to the production of an end product and as a result a vast majority of the workers involved were never connected with an end product.2 Therefore, job satisfaction decreased as productivity increased as the worker increasingly viewed himself as part of a whole in contrast to an association with an end product. Industrialization of this manner brought worker disillusionment as satisfaction decreased.3 Moreover, industrial employment stratified the production process between the people who worked and the people who directed the work. The film Metropolis reflects the idea that workers were an inherently exploited segment of society.4 However, along with the increase in productivity which accompanied industrialization came a corresponding increase in leisure time for the worker. Workers maintained regimented schedules and steady pay which combined to allow them time to themselves and also the financial means with which to enjoy it.5 Therefore, technology employed in the context of taylorism reflected the reality that it had the potential to increase productivity and livelihood of the employee but at the expense of maintaining a qualitative working experience.
Industrialization and war combined to underscore the duality of the influx of technology. Increased industrial capacity and technological impetus rendered the ability to develop new weapons and the means with which to produce them. Airplanes, machine guns, tanks and chemical weapons were employed during World War I as a result of increased industrial capacity and technological advancements in weaponry.6 Moreover, European powers had counted on the war being a brief engagement however these weapons effectively created a stalemate...

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