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In this chapter:

  • The development of technology has flourished in recent years and has played a major role in globalisation
  • Information technology has made significant advances in recent years, owing to the internet
  • Communication technology, from mobile phones to GPS satellites, have also revolutionised communications
  • Transport technology has had a growing focus on affordability, comfort, speed and being environmentally friendly

 

Introduction

Advances in technology are one of the main reasons that globalisation has escalated in the past decade. In information and communication technology, innovations have become smaller in size, more efficient and often more affordable. In transport technology, vehicles have tended to become larger and faster, as well as becoming more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run. Whether for personal use or for business, technology has made the world seem a smaller place and assisted in the rise of globalisation.

Information and communication technology

Developments in information and communication technology have changed our way of life, whether it is at home, at work, at school or at leisure. The internet and the development of digital technology (computer-based technology) in particular, have made the most significant impact in the field of information and communication technology in the past decade.

Information technology

The internet is essentially a network of computers across the world which is linked through global telecommunications. Although it was originally only used by defence personnel in the United States, easy access to computers and related technology have made using the internet a common activity in more recent times.

The World Wide Web (www) is a collection of interconnected documents which are accessible using the internet. It enables people from almost anywhere in the world to access information on almost any topic from shopping to weather forecasts; and from research to downloading music and movies.

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In addition to the internet, global media networks (corporations which include television and media companies with branches in multiple countries) also bring news and information about current events to people all over the globe. It is now possible for someone in Australia to pick up a copy of an American fashion magazine, or for someone in the United States to watch the Mandarin news.

Communication technology

The last decade has seen dramatic developments in telecommunication technology. Communication has moved on since the days of 'snail mail' where it would take several weeks for mail to arrive from overseas.

The internet has had an important role in connecting people. It allows people in countries around the world to instantly contact each another through email, chat programs and video calls. This instant communication has revolutionised business and social lives.

In addition to the internet, mobile phones, voice mail, and text messaging allow instant contact across states and countries. In 2003, 31 percent of 10- to 14-year-olds owned a mobile phone and almost half of Australia's 10- to 14-year-olds sent text messages every day.

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Satellites have outgrown their original use in government activities and research and are now used by people in a variety of ways. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) use the information provided by satellites to provide accurate information on locations on the land, in the sea and in the air.

Satellites are also used to provide information on weather patterns around the world; tracking hurricanes or tropical cyclones. This information helps meteorologists make better predictions about the weather and also warn the public of any dangerous weather systems.

Transport technology

Developments in transport technology have played a major role in globalisation. Over 100 years ago, the Industrial Revolution changed the nature of transport with the invention of the steam engine and the combustion engine. Since then, technological development in the transportation industry has affected transformation in road, rail, sea and air travel.

Transport for personal use has improved dramatically. Cars are now built to be faster, safer, more fuel efficient and therefore cheaper to run, as well as being more environmentally friendly and costing less to purchase.

Airline transport has also enabled the expansion of tourism and trade across continents. Although passenger planes only began to move groups of people around half a century ago, they have dramatically improved within that time. Airline travel has not only become more affordable in the last 20 years but it has also become faster. In the mid-1930s, eleven people could fit into an aircraft on a flight from London to Bangkok which took eight days. In 2002, almost 400 passengers could take the same journey in just ten hours.

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Transport has also changed the way we do business. Super tankers have increased the scale of trade between countries, as these massive container ships are able to carry larger quantities of goods, including oil and grain. As a result, trade has become increasingly international.

Innovations in transport often involve the use of information and communication technology. Larger aircraft and container ships use satellite navigation systems, GPS and computers to function.

Attempts are also being made to make transport more affordable and also more environmentally friendly by utilising things such as solar power, electricity and ethanol fuel.


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Question 1/5

1. What is the World Wide Web?

The Internet and E-mail

A collection of interconnected documents which can be accessed through the Internet.

A collection of books and newspapers all in the one place, such as a library

The way that people send E-mail to each other online

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