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Historical Aspects Of Ict Media

Essay add: 11-01-2017, 19:17   /   Views: 51

Micro-electronics has brought about a second revolution, following that produced by it's predecessor the vacuum tubes which were used to built the world's first computer the ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator). Following this, was the invention of the transistor, a small, low-power amplifier which also gave a boost to the computer industry due to its small size relative to that of the vacuum tube.(a picture of this transistor can be found on the right hand sideof this text). However, since the layout of the components of the electronic devices on a single board using wiring produced some limitations whilst trying to downsize, Geoffrey W.A. Dummer (a radar scientist) decided to connect them on a single wafer which is referred to as an integrated circuit which was then built by Jack Kilby. This means that the whole circuit will be manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. This method of integration was an enormous improvement over the manual assembly of the circuits using electronic components.

Integrated circuits were then however made possible by experimental discoveries which proved that such semiconductor devices could actually perform the functions of the vacuum tubes.

Nowadays, integrated circuits are used in almost all of the electronic equipment in use and they have revolutionized the world of electronics as stated by the author of the site below.

"Little did this group of onlookers know that Kilby's invention was about to revolutionize the electronics industry.

On the left is Moore's Law graph which shows the number of transistors that will be present on every integrated circuit chip for different years. It shows that every two years the number of transistors is approximately doubled.

Gordon Moore stated that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuit had always doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Thus he predicted that this would continue to happen in the forseable future. In the past few years tha pace has slowed down a bit, but data density has still been doubling every 1.5years. At the end of the 1970s, Moore's law became known as the limit for the number of transistors on the most complex chips. Recent trends show that this rate has been maintained into 2007.

"The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year... Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000. I believe that such a large circuit can be built on a single wafer." (Cramming more components onto integrated circuits", Electronics Magazine 19 April 1965)

Returning back to the time when the integrated circuit was still undiscovered i.e when vacuum tubes were considered to be the latest technology. The initial approach was an attempt to miniaturize conventional components. Another approach was 'molecular engineering'. The example of the transistor as a substitute for the vacuum tube suggested that similar substitutes could be devised. In other words, that new materials could be discovered or developed that would, by their solid-state nature, allow electronic functions other than amplification to be performed within a monolithic solid. These attempts were largely unsuccessful but they publicised the demand for miniaturisation and the potential rewards for the successful development of some form of microelectronics. A large segment of the technical community was on the lookout for a solution of the problem because it was clear that a ready market awaited the successful inventor.

Microprocessors are nowadays used in sewing machines, dish washers, washing machines, telephones, cookers, ovens, controllers for heat systems, televisions, cameras, CPUs, traffic lights, car ignition systems, accounting systems, cash terminals, banking terminals, library indexing systems and in almost anything you can find.

In fact, micro electronics has also given a boost to the medical instruments including patient monitoring systems in hospitals, computerised X-Ray scanners and ultrasonnic scanner . Micro electronics are also used to measure gamma rays and similar rays.

Evolution of nano-electronics

Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nano scale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale.(i.e. whether it can produce something reliable).

Finding new ways to make integrated circuits smaller is the key to the continuation of Moore's Law and for this reason, nanotechnology is essential in today's world.

Thus the future of computer systems is moving on to nanotechnology. Nanotechnology, is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. A molecular based technology means that all the central processing units and integrated circuits known today will shrink to a molecular level. However, there is a limit of how small silicon chips can be because of the nature of the silicon materials that is being used. When the current silicon transistor technology goes below 10 nanometers in size, it is expected to run into the laws of physics and will no longer be able to create reliable transistors.

Therefore, since silicon chips under 10 nanometers are no longer reliable a new manufacturing material had to be discovered if Moore's law had to keep holding. Thus, graphene was discovered by the research team of Novoselov back in 2004 and from then onwards this type of material was being used to produce chips which are smaller than 10 nanometers.

The researchers created the graphene transistors using standard semiconductor fabrication technology. They begin with a small sheet of graphene and carve channels into the material using electron beam lithography. What remains is a quantum dot with a tiny circular cage at the center known as the central island. Voltage can change the conductivity of these quantum dots, allowing them to store logic states just like standard field-effect transistors.

The smallest transistor produced out of silicon measures 32 nanometers whilst the smallest transistor made out of graphene measures one atom thick and ten atoms across. This was made possible because graphene is exactly one-atom thick and thus it created few hurdles when trying to design a transistor which has exactly the same width..

At the same time, being only one atom thick and being made of intricately linked carbon atoms, graphene has the ability to retain several important properties which the Silicon was not able to retain namely its conductivity.

In fact, the world is already seeing graphene working transistors in the sub-10 nanometer range.  The researchers say their latest, unpublished work has used graphene to make transistors a single nanometer across. This downscaling is expected to keep on happening at a very fast pace because there doesn't seem to be any problems between the said material and the laws of physics. To proove this, Navoselov stated the following words.

"From the point of view of physics, graphene is a goldmine," said Novoselov. "You can study it for ages." (www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008).

Another type of nonotechnology is Quantum computing which is now also being considered. This is when the data stored is no longer stored in bits but is stored in qubits. These qubits can have a number of different states like 0 and 1 at the same time. It is a technology which is still in its infancy but it might someday be the break though which even makes nanotechnology absolute. This technology can even be used for medicine, as already discovered, quantum dots are prooven to be a faster and more sensitive method for detecting respiratory viral infections

The future and how the society will be is very strange and highly unpredictable. Probably, when we get older, we will not even be able to recognize it. Our grand parents and parents living today would not have even dreamt of having these technologies around them and they usually find it very difficult to start making use of such things that have come about at such an old age. For this reason, most of the times there are problems between parents and children and this is usually referred to as the generation gap.

Influence of evolution on society

This generation gap seems to arise because mankind has repeatedly demonstrated a healthy suspicion of new inventions and has been generally reticent about accepting new ideas. In fact, they are usually unaccepted by the present generations and are then accepted and adopted by the following ones.

However in the 19th century, the idea of progress in society through science took shape and the connection of progress with science has become fundamental to the way in which the Western World has developed ever since.

The development of machines through the 19th century resulted in a very different society from that based on agriculture which it replaced. As discussed earlier on, there were objections to the introduction of new machinery. However, nowadays there is general acceptance o f such machinery.

The reason for returning to the first industrial revolution is to draw a parallel with the new technology of the twentieth century, microelectronics. Once again man is faced with the prospect of dramatic changes in his working pattern yet the potential for progress is great. Although micro electronics has been around for a number of years and has found widespread applications, only the tip of the iceberg is so far evident especially when it comes to nano electronics.

In the first industrial revolution, machines were being used to overcome the limitations of the human physique. This had changed the society at the time from a rural one to an urban and affluent one. This has also touched off a chain of technological innovations that transformed not only production but also transportation, communication, warfare, the size of human populations, and the natural environment.

In the second industrial revolution, microelectronics started being used to overcome the limitations of the human brain. But, in this case, most of the people seem to be more apprehensive about the development and impact of microelectronics. However, it is not plain whether this apprehension is simply fear of the unknown or whether there might be something qualitatively different about this particular development?

Development produce little threat to the existing industrial practices when it is directed towards leisure and improving communications. Thus, it is accepted fairly rapidly and without much social discontent since there was no change in the types of jobs available. On the other hand, when it effects the world of job, it is a different story and there is more resistance and much less acceptance of the technology.

For the past few years, the development of the computer and its microelectronic equivalent, the microprocessor has been providing the greatest challenge to society. The readily available computing power at very low costs is allowing many new products to be developed. This has made high level of automations possible which involved replacement of the decision-making role of the human operator by a simple electronics circuit.

"Products are becoming smart, being able to make intelligent decisions, performing calculations and memorizing results for future use in addition to their usual functions." (The Impact of Micro-Electronics Technology - Mervyna A.Jack).

However, all of these useful products are being a threat to the human resource. Many of the traditional job positions are becoming redundant and thus it may be causing some unemployment in the long run. On the other hand, new jobs with a much higher remunerations are being offered. But as stated earlier on, society tends to reject progress because it is constantly trying to prevent change. Thus, most of the people spend their time fighting to secure their present job rather than thinking of ways of how to make themselves suitable for the new jobs available.

The major problem in the short term is producing the required number of electronic engineers and technicians to allow the industry to develop along this path since this technology is developing at a very fast pace. The new generations seem to be accepting this change much more than their descendants did and much more of them are studying science and engineering.

With these new technologies being used by several companies, workers can actually work from home and can avoid having to travel and waste time being stuck in traffic. In this way, people will end up having more quality time with their families. At the same time, such jobs tend to be more flexible in the working hours and thus one can do his work at any time of the day, therefore he is more able to cope with any family needs. Simple examples on how this may be usefull are the following : collecting kids from school and continue working, attend a parents day without having to take leave, serve as a company to somebody who is sick at home, feel literally at home whilst working and might result in a better job performance.

Coming to think about it, it was the society its self that triggered many of the advancements in technology. For example, the internet simply got faster and cheaper because of the way people started to use it, mobile phones advanced because it was known that people dreamt of having everything portable and so it was ingenious for the designer to include a camera and wifi together with the other features. After all it's all business.

Computer systems have also changed the way with which we relate to data, changed our way of organization and they have also lead to many outlets providing information all around the world. This has indeed made the modern society more open minded and definetely more open to change. A proof of this is people older than 30 who nowadays cannot do without a mobile phone and the internet. These people were brought up with none of the said technology and were already used to that type of life but still feel the need of using it.

On the other hand, electronics are also causing an amount of problems to society. One of these is the amount of electricity that is being consumption on a daily basis. It is evident that the consumption has increased too much in the past few years and power stations had to increase their ouput power thus causing much more pollution to the world's atmosphere and fresh air. This problem has also brought about a high increase in health problems some of which are brought about by the sun's more dangerous exposure on the Earth's crust and the polluted air that the general public is forced to breath.

Statistics showing the increase in the number of skin cancers and those showing the increase in the amount of people(mostly children) suffering from Asthma are plain proof of this.

Nonetheless, micro and nano electronics are still believed to have made our lives better because when looking at them from another perspective, it is clear that many other health problems would not have been possible to solve with their intervention. Examples of such such interventions are the following:

provides portable genetic risk detection (breast cancer)

nanotech-laser treatment that kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue

Smart nanoprobed to light up disease and thus identifying it

Nanoparticles are used to carry cancer killing drug into tumor cells.

Apart from medical treatments, nano electronics are also being used to explore more powerful devices which consume a less amount of energy. An example of this is the Norwegian research organization SINTEF going on which is using nanoelectronics for a real-time control of smart and dynamic sensor-based monitoring of batteries in electric vehicles. In this way they will be using the batteries of the cars they produce in a much more efficient way.

Another aspect of society which computers have changed is the way they interract with each other. With the use of a computer the world is at your finger tips and many people tend to spend entire days in front of the computer just staring at the monitor. This is very unhealthy, since it banns socialisation, strains the eye and lessens exercise which leads to obesity.

Social behavior has changed a lot from when our parents were young. Technology has done loads of good things for the new generations but sometimes people just seem to be living in a world of their own because they would be so immersed into their computers or mobile phones.

However, micro electronics have helped society even witht he basic things like planning to meet up with somebody using a mobile phone rather than having to find the person physically. Another strange thing that is hard not to notice is that the traditional conversations on the school buses and on bus stops have almost ended because people are nowadays so immersed in their mp3 player's mujsic, their mobile phone's inbox and their email inboxes. This is keeping these generations closed in their virtual world and thus most of them are not prepared for conversation which can create serious problems when they come face to face with people.

Nonetheless, this technology as mentioned above has brought with it a huge increase in educational levels of developed countries and is creating a new generation which will be hopefully more intelligent and succesful.

Influence of evolution on the economy

Although progress usually brings about loss of jobs, it is also believed to help the economy.

"Modern technology has positioned us in the midst of a new revolution. Together, nanotechnology and microelectronics are the engines of modern commerce, and are directly or indirectly enabling numerous innovative global changes. Whenever there is advancement in their performances, a dawn emerges in the global economy bringing improvements in all areas of human endeavors." (Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Global Diffusion, Economics and Policy - Ndubuisi Ekekwe).

New improved watches, computerized games like chess which attempts to simulate how human players think and anticipate future moves, electronic language translator and the many other gadgets that are being invented and developed provides more choice on the market. Therefore, people tend to spend much more money in this sector because they will want to try the product. Thus there will be more sales and hence a higher turnover means an increase in the taxes collected and more money in the business man's spending pocket. In this way, all the sectors will benefit and as a result the economy will enjoy a boost.

The enormous investment in the technology is now paying off and many products are appearing. However, new product developments are limited either by the generation of good ideas or by the supply of suitably trained people with the skills to implement them.

This limitation, has generated a next generaation of jobs and thus has helped the economic system.

With vacuum tubes there was a big problem because of their bulkiness but integrated circuits managed to solve the problem since they are very small. This brought about the miniaturization of electronics and computers. Here is when the world really got smaller, this is when mobile phones became a possibility and when the electronic industry became very success full. These devices became affordable by the common person and were even being implemented into other devices for multi purpose use. Thus, the users of microelectronics started to increase rapidly and companies producing such things were making lots of profits.

History has shown, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions that, although redundancies were created and employment profiles changed, from primary employment in fishing and agriculture to secondary employment in factories and engineering and presently to tertiary employment in the service indurstries and commerce, the overall national employment levels have re-equalised themselves.Thus, although present high technology will inevitably create redundancies, it is to be anticipated that on a national scale these redundances will be equalized by a new new trend towards quaternary employment. The main quaternary industries can be anticipated as being education and leisure.

Manufacturing industries will continue to produce the products that society needs and microelectronics can be a way to generate new products in its own right. It will however produce a change in skill requirements, which will provide a challenge both to the management and to the education system. Most of the job call will be for engineers and software developers and thus it is not easy to find if society isn't producing enough of them.

The direct economic effects of intorducing the use of a computer or any other microelectronics is a lower running cost and less emmployees. The main aim of introducing the computer is to mechanize existing clerical operations thus reducing most of the usual clerical costs. Computers require a lower ratio of labour to capital than previous methods.

Electronic payphones now include a digital display which shows the cost of the call. Nowadays, microelectronics can also be used to identify a fault because most electronics include a built-in finding capability. Thus in this way maintenance costs are reduced and things are mre straight forward for the engineer.

From an economic standpoint, the modern computer is simply the most recent of a long line of new technologies that increase productivity and cause a gradual shift from manufacturing to service employment. The empirical evidence provides no support for the claim sometimes made that the computer "mechanizes and dehumanizes work." Perhaps the greatest significance of the computer lies in its impact on Man's view of himself. No longer accepting the geocentric view of the universe, he now begins to learn that his mind is a phenomenon of nature, explainable in terms of simple mechanisms. Thus the computer aids him to obey, for the first time, the ancient injunction: "Know thyself".

No matter what side effects this nano technology may bring, it's present is always a gain because it gives humanity the possibility to improove the standard of living. Looking at the economic positions of countires who invest in such research is already proof that it will improove the economy and people's lifes.

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