Essay on The Relationship Between Technology and Human Culture

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The Relationship Between Technology and Human Culture

Human culture and technology are continually co-evolving in a dynamic relationship. All technologies (See Note 1) develop in a particular cultural context as the result of changing needs or constraints. But once developed, a technology changes the culture that gave it birth. When a technology spreads to another culture, the cultural context affects the speed or way in which the technology is adopted and how it is used. The diffusion of technologies to other cultures changes those other cultures as well. The changes in culture that one technology creates may then influence the development of another or different technology.

Culture is a broad term. The dictionary definition of
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Sedentary hunter-gatherers in the area (like all hunter-gatherers) (4) had an intimate knowledge of the natural environment, including growing cycles and preferred environments of edible cereal species. As Bruce Smith explains, (5) domestication probably resulted from the intensification of previous cultivation behaviors, perhaps in response to population or other stress. Hunter-gather populations manipulate their environments in order to reduce the risk of food shortages or to increase supplies of favored species. (6) This manipulation can take various forms, including cultivation behaviors such as replanting seedlings in more watered ground. Over time, these human actions changed the selection pressures on wild species, resulting in the development of domesticated varieties. This gradual process happened as it did because of the existing cultural context of hunter-gather populations who were not only familiar with the grain species that became domesticated, but also were "actively intervening in the life cycles of those species." (7)

Another set of technologies that developed in the Middle East in a particular cultural context were irrigation and the movement of water. As M.S. Drower describes, (8) agriculture in the arid areas of this region required the ability to supply crops with water. Primitive irrigation was even part of the cultivation behaviors practiced by hunter-gatherers that was part