The Evolution of Human Communication
As part of this month’s theme of Innovation November, we wanted to look at the rapid evolution of human communication. These days we prefer communication methods and tools that involve the least amount of effort, cost, and time. Let’s do a quick time warp and look back and reflect on human innovation when it comes to communication.
There’s just something about us enjoying communicating with someone in a darkly lit room. Whether we are creating messages with electronic paintings – our beloved emojis – on our phones at midnight or doing cave paintings, our guess is as good as yours as to why these instances happen. Cave paintings existed around 40,000 to 14,000 years ago. Their primary purpose, according to Britannia, is to have a symbolic or religious function, sometimes both. The exact meanings of the images remain unknown, but most experts believe shamans mostly drew them. While this was a way to communicate, albeit extremely primitive, this still builds the foundations of human communications.
Stone Tablets, Scrolls and Carrier Pigeons
Here we see another parallel between us and our past selves. We’ve come from stone tablets to electronic tablets. We can now scroll images of scrolls on our tablets, now think about that for a second! By this point in human history, we have already established an alphabet or character system to write and understand. Whether it be the Rosetta Stone or The Dead Sea Scrolls, many societies have now adopted a formal means of communication. However, the problem with these communication methods was their fragile mediums and the time it took to inscribe the characters. In 2,000 BC, carrier pigeons were used between Mesopotamia regions; however, a pigeon was not a completely secure and reliable mode of communication transport.
The Printing Press
This is where mass communication took off. The ability to repeat the same message to a larger audience at a higher speed is what really propelled things to a whole new level. Not only was communication more accessible, but it also educated more people! However, the limit of this technology is that it can only go so far as any postal system or person who carries the message. Again, we humans strive to find more innovations to circumvent this issue.
Telegraphs and Telecommunications
Between the 1830s to 1840s, the telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse, who also created the morse code. This is where we start to see a closer relationship to our modern-day use of communications. Fast forward 100+ years to the age of telecommunications where we can fax, e-mail, call, SMS. With the rise of social media we quickly got used to having multiple communication options to reach small and vast audiences alike on one platform. Our ancestors could not imagine sending long messages instantly over long distances and having the message relatively intact, unlike a pigeon or damaged letter, and still keep costs minimal. Furthermore, easy image sharing has been a considerable change and enriched our ways of communication.
Voice Tech is the New Now
We have started the shift to doing communications powered by our voice. Why? Recent events make it harder for us to meet in person, and touch-points like physical paper are being looked down upon for health reasons. The remote and virtual aspect of communication seems to be the direction society is heading. Voice is already used far beyond just making calls. More of us are getting used to recording text messages and directing our home appliances and virtual assistants with our voice. Professional technology to convert our voice into text is advancing quickly and has been picking up speed in our daily work lives.
We’ve outlined in the past the advantages of voice tech in a world where mobility matters and how voice tech also broke barriers and increased accessibility. Voice Tech is just another stepping stone for humanity to evolve as our communication style continues to be highly efficient, value-oriented, and sophisticated.