How can technology help to distort history?

Expert Answers
gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That is a great question.

Technology can help distort history in a number of ways. Some of them are large, even crude. Consider the effects of pollution, for example. Pollution can discolor historical monuments, corrode paintings, etc. Or consider the effect of modern construction machines, or modern mining techniques. They both result in large scale disruption of the landscape. This would distort history by literally removing some historical sites, and by changing their relationship to others. A number of dams have flooded historically important sites, like cemeteries. Again, these are examples of large scale distortion.

There are more subtle ways technology can distort history. Three come to mind. First, broadcast technologies (radio, television, etc.) mean local cultures are flooded by mass media. These shows and songs can and do displace regional cultures, making it more likely some history will be forgotten. Second, digitizing historical texts makes them available more widely. That's great, but it removes the words from their context. What's more, if one set of records is digitized and another is not, then the digitized records will be used more widely.  Third, technology makes historical falsifications more widely available. A crackpot theory on a website might be read around the world.

This is far from a complete list. You could look in a range of areas for more distortions.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question