Technological Frontier

Technological Frontier

America has been a country full of optimism,
perseverance, and freedom of ideas and beliefs. The frontier- a mental
or physical area where much remains to be done- is a belief that has and
still propels and influences America today. The technological frontier
is probably the most influenced by the frontier belief. There is always
room for better in technology. The technological advancements in the past

50 years outnumber the amount advancements from the beginning of time up
to 50 years ago. Technological advancements have made it easier to for
humans to live and adapt to their universe. Technology has expanded exponentially
from the beginning of time until the 90\'s. In the 90\'s technological advancements
have taken off at a higher exponential rate. For every frontier that appears
to be complete, a new frontier has opened up and is unsolved. The frontier
consists of branches that have branches themselves, resembling a tree.

The frontier is far from ending, if there is an ending. During this rapid
technological advancement period where we are trying to fulfill that long-term,
near perfect technology, there have been short-term constraints in technology
that have and will continue to open new branches in technology.

Engineers have been trained to discover
new technologies that enhance human life by designing new products and
things that make life easier and safer for everyone. Engineers are obligated
to use their skills, intelligence and apply their knowledge to promote
human welfare. An example of this has been the advancement of communications.

Instead of sending a letter to a family member or loved one by pony express,
now one can send mail in just seconds through e-mail. This technological
advancement makes it easier and better to communicate that is satisfying
to humans. These advancements in the long term will have small constraints,
but in the short term there\'re broader constraints and limits. Email about
five years ago could only be accessed through internet service providers
such as: AOL, Prodigy, CompuServe, TexasNet, and institution accounts.

Now email can be retrieved and sent over the internet without having these
big name internet service providers. There are now services like Yahoo,

Hotmail, Rocketmail, and Juno that offer free email accounts over the web
for any one. Within the past few years, technology has allowed email users
to send voice and video emails, which was impossible before. Email still
has delays ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes when you send your
email over the internet. Ideally, these delays still represents a very
fast relay suitable for all practical purposes in email. Email can have
more of a real time relay in the future. There is also the possibility
of your email not reaching its destination, which we all have experienced
at one time. Now we see less and less of our email not reaching our destination
with the improvements of transmission lines. Higher bandwidths in these
transmission lines allow for higher memory capabilities in our email. Email
in the long run will be near a more real time instantaneous speed with
the capability of higher memory.

The frontier myth can be seen from the
beginning technological advancement of communications. In 1837, while working
independently from one another Samuel F. B. Morse and the two British engineers

Sir William Cook and Sir Charles Wheatstone developed a method of sending
an electronic message over a distance of several miles almost instantaneously.

The implications of this development were enormous. For the first time
in history, human beings had the means to overcome the obstacles imposed
upon communications by vast distances. A "Virtual world" of human communications
had just been born that was much smaller and could potentially be much
more closely knit together than the "real" world. Though the concept of
virtual place and time would not become part of the terminology of human
thinking for almost another 150 years, the foundations were laid with this
invention. It is significant that during this same period we were making
rapid progress in conquering distance and time in the real world with advances
in the steam engines, which powered ships and railroad locomotives. America\'s
telegraph network grew up with and was often found alongside the rapidly
developing network of railroad lines that began to tie the various corners
of our nation together.

The frontier myth influenced the expansion
of communications into another frontier, telecommunications. While working
on a device to enable hearing impaired individuals to hear sound in 1877,

Alexander Bell developed a communications device that was to eventually
be introduced into almost every American home and become available to nearly
everyone worldwide. The voice transducer (transmitter and receiver) technology
developed by Bell paved the way for