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What are some examples of cultural diffusion in technology?

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Deborah Sheldon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Cultural diffusion of technology is a constant theme in the history of the world. As different cultures meet, through trade or conquest, they almost automatically are interested in sharing their ideas and technologies. A great example of this is the introduction of gunpowder to Europe after the Crusades. The technology was used for many years by the Chinese initially for fireworks that were used to get rid of evil spirits. By the 15th Century, the Ottoman Empire integrated gunpowder in weapons and it did not take long for Europeans to utilize guns. Muslim scholars at this time also invented the astrolabe that was used for navigation. This technology would find its way to Europe, which made possible the exploration of the New World.

Today we live in a global economy. There are countless examples of technology diffusion. Even people in the most remote areas of the world utilize cellular phones. Computers, global positioning, social networks, medical advances, and green technologies are invented in one part of the world, and quickly become global. The world is now interconnected. The I-Pad was released in 2010 by the American company, Apple. Today, over 300 million I-Pads have been sold around the world. The world is almost interconnected to such a degree that it is hard to label the spread of ideas and technology cultural diffusion anymore.

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