Technology evolution is one of the most fascinating processes that the human species has had as its protagonist, since the transformations were motivated by the needs that human beings have been raising correspondingly with the advancement of life on the planet. In the early stages, the evolution has been relatively slow, while in the last decades the transformations began a path of exponential growth.
This is why the term of ‘Old technology‘ admits a multiplicity of criteria, quite far from a binary question between’ current ‘and’ old ‘: in our time, a current technology can become old in just a few days.
However, to begin to approximate a criterion to distinguish ancient technologies, it is convenient to draw a brief characterization of the evolutionary history of technology, rather in its facet of relationship with society.
- Prehistory. In prehistoric times, and until about 7000 BC, technology was primitive and subsistence in its essence. Humans were hunter-gatherers, and in this lifestyle the first technologies were subordinated to survival, obtaining food and preparing it. The appearance of fire and some stone tools are inscribed in this frame. As it is such a long period, the first introductions in the matter of means of transport, and the discovery of the wheel, agriculture and metals are registered here.
- Artisan technology. The artisan technology is the one that did not need the mediation of tools, or only very simple tools. Techniques, however, were refined, while manual skills as intellectuals developed to the extreme. Although this stage does not seem introductory to a large number of technological advances, the theoretical concept of the technique is fundamental.
- Mechanized technology. It originated precisely with the Industrial Revolution, and required the advancement and systematization of science. The principles that were employed were generally scientific and technical, and the machine was able to begin to provide the force that was previously restricted to humans. The economy based on manual labor was replaced by one dominated by industry and manufacturing, and although some protested believing that human labor would disappear, in the end that did not happen.
- State of the art technology. Starting in 1950, a new form of technology began to emerge, technology ‘on end‘. Here only one operator is needed and sometimes none, the machines were greatly improved and the programming systems greatly reduced the work. Mass production is partly possible thanks to these introductions, with the multiple economic effects they generate.
- Sustainable technologies. From 1990 to the present, the technology is part of a process of Environmental crisis for which it is partly responsible, for which its main challenge is sustainability. Technologies have been modified to become environmentally sustainable.
Thus, technology seems to have always evolved on the path of the maximum possible advance, until the present time when other criteria appear as important. It is in this context that the concept of ‘Clean technologies‘for those compatible with sustainable development, all those that are not being old.
The ancient technologies They are those that, by action or omission, produce some damage to the environment due to their use. The most common are direct environmental impact, desertification, pollution, waste generation.
Examples of ancient technologies
- The means of transport that use oil and its derivatives.
- Technological procedures that generate a large amount of electronic waste.
- Those that use nuclear and atomic energy.
- Mobile devices and their accessories, both in antennas and batteries.
- Air conditioners.
- Battery powered devices, which pollute large amounts of water.
- All devices made of platelets, which contain small amounts of chromium.
- Industrial activities that generate waste.
- Cars, which emanate gases.
- Laser printers, which pollute the air.
- The production of plastic, especially PVC, on a large scale.
- Flat screens, which release gases that are harmful to the atmosphere.
- Products including batteries.
- Activities that involve the use of aerosols.
- Agricultural activity through the use of pesticides and herbicides.