5650Team3_BurkeDraft1

5650Team3_BurkeDraft1 - James Burkes Connections 1 BCIS...

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James Burke’s Connections 1 BCIS 5650 Group 3 Report 2: Why Technology Changes—James Burke’s Connections Group 3 Members: David C. Kupfer DavidKupfer@my.unt.edu Jong Sung Lee JongSungLee@gmail.com Candice Leitner Candice.Leitner@dyn-intl.com Tracy Rittter TracyRitter0313@gmail.com Fall 2009 BCIS 5650 Section 1 Professor Vedder October 1, 2009
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James Burke’s Connections 2 BCIS 5650 Group 3 Report 2: Why Technology Changes—James Burke’s Connections This paper examines the multitude of ways technological change occurs and the often unpredictable results of those technological changes as discussed in James Burke’s Connections (1978/1995). Burke contends that technology develops as a result of sequences of events rather than in moments of genius or blinding insight and that these events often appear at the to be unrelated to the ultimate outcome. “Change almost always comes as a surprise because things don’t happen in straight lines…when people or things or ideas come together in new ways, the rules of arithmetic are changed so that one plus one suddenly makes three” (Burke, 1978/1995, p. xi). In this way innovations, inventions, and whole new technologies are born. And when technology changes, the world changes, often in unexpected and unprecedented ways.
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James Burke’s Connections 3 1. Identify what your team thinks is the major invention / innovation / discovery in each chapter, and what is / are the primary causation factor(s) responsible for it. Explain your reasoning. Include in this discussion the first-order effects and second-order effects, as you perceive them. 1.1 The Scratch Plough As humans transitioned hunter-gatherers to food producers, their population increased, resulting in the need to produce greater quantities of food. Without some means of increasing food production, the mortality rate would rise to achieve equilibrium. Therefore, in order to survive, a way to increase food supplies had to be found. Out of this desperation, first the digging stick, then the scratch plough were developed. From this simple plough, society as we understand it was born. With the expansion of crop production brought about by this innovation, there existed for probably the first time in human history a surplus of food (a first-order effect). This led to the development of clay pots in which to store this food and of writing to mark the content of the pots. Mathematics developed to measure the fields as well as to measure and account for the excess food. From this simple beginning, the complex civilization that built the pyramids arose (second-order effects). Burke (1978/1995, p. 9) states that “This simple implement [the scratch plough] may arguably be called the most fundamental invention in the history of man, and the innovation that brought civilizations into being, because it was the instrument of surplus” (Burke, 1978/1995). Other second-order effects are discussed by Diamond (1999) as he describes the changes to
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This note was uploaded on 03/09/2010 for the course BCIS 4940 taught by Professor Angelo during the Spring '09 term at Texas Tech.

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5650Team3_BurkeDraft1 - James Burkes Connections 1 BCIS...

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