Technological Artifact – Rachel Lentz

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Digital cassette tape music converter. Photo by Rachel Lentz, August 2018.

Defining a personality and definitely a generation by one piece of technology is a nearly impossible task in today’s world. Technology has begun to move exponentially fast, building upon itself to create new offshoots and innovations. Every year companies come out with new and improved smartphones, businesses and schools offer cutting edge technology for their people to use, and parents call their children for tech help as they struggle with the basics. This type of fast paced change has yet to be seen so fully incorporated into society, so much so as to define this time period of human history. For all of this technological advancement humanity started somewhere and luckily we stand on the shoulders of giants. Our parent’s legacy of technology is the foundation on which we stand today and now we use this to build tech wonders. As such we can see these old structures through the gaps in our shiny new screens. For example, the radio in my car has been shamelessly adapted to accommodate digital music technology from its older generations. My car is a 1999 Toyota Camry, and still has the originally installed radio. This radio only has a cassette tape player and as a citizen of generation Z, I do not own any cassette tapes. At best I could scrounge some dusty CD’s or a tape of two from my mother. Luckily, technology has my back. I was able to purchase a cheap cassette tape converter which allows me to plug in my digital phone and play music through my older radio cassette tape player. This in an example of my generation adapting to and using the foundation of the past to fit our own needs and innovations. Think of all the work that went into establishing electricity throughout the USA, years of effort and billions of dollars when into the establishment of this now basic need. Today electricity connects to the phone towers that broadcast the internet signal to my phone which allows me to play digital music through my old radio. Foundations are important and how we adapt and use them today can be traced through time, like a tree growing from its simple roots.

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