Unbound: How Eight Technologies Made Us Human and Brought Our World to the Brink

Unbound: How Eight Technologies Made Us Human and Brought Our World to the Brink

by Richard L. Currier, Tom Gjelten

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Overview

Like Guns, Germs, and Steel, a work of breathtaking sweep and originality that reinterprets the human story.

Although we usually think of technology as something unique to modern times, our ancestors began to create the first technologies millions of years ago in the form of prehistoric tools and weapons. Over time, eight key technologies gradually freed us from the limitations of our animal origins.

The fabrication of weapons, the mastery of fire, and the technologies of clothing and shelter radically restructured the human body, enabling us to walk upright, shed our body hair, and migrate out of tropical Africa. Symbolic communication transformed human evolution from a slow biological process into a fast cultural process. The invention of agriculture revolutionized the relationship between humanity and the environment, and the technologies of interaction led to the birth of civilization. Precision machinery spawned the industrial revolution and the rise of nation-states; and in the next metamorphosis, digital technologies may well unite all of humanity for the benefit of future generations.

Synthesizing the findings of primatology, paleontology, archeology, history, and anthropology, Richard Currier reinterprets and retells the modern narrative of human evolution that began with the discovery of Lucy and other Australopithecus fossils. But the same forces that allowed us to integrate technology into every aspect of our daily lives have also brought us to the brink of planetary catastrophe. Unbound explains both how we got here and how human society must be transformed again to achieve a sustainable future.

Technology: “The deliberate modification of any natural object or substance with forethought to achieve a specific end or to serve a specific purpose.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628725469
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 08/18/2015
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 58,411
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Richard L. Currier earned his BA and PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a professor of anthropology at Berkeley, the University of Minnesota, and the State University of New York. He coauthored a ten-volume series on archeology for young adults and published numerous articles in scholarly journals and mainstream magazines. A pioneer in the design and development of interactive learning technologies, Currier has won numerous awards for his work. He lives in Oceanside, California.
Richard L. Currier earned his BA and PhD in social and cultural anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and taught anthropology at Berkeley, the University of Minnesota, and the State University of New York. He coauthored a ten-volume series on archaeology for young adults and published numerous articles in scholarly journals and mainstream magazines. A pioneer in the design and development of interactive learning technologies, Currier has won numerous awards for his work. He lives in Oceanside, California.
Tom Gjelten is Religion and Belief Correspondent at NPR News. His reporting draws on his experience covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world. His new book, A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, recounts the impact on America of the 1965 Immigration Act, which opened the country to non-European immigrants.

Table of Contents

Foreword Tom Gjelten ix

Introduction xiii

1 The Primate Baseline: Tools, Traditions, Motherhood, Warfare, and the Homeland 1

2 The Technology of Spears and Digging Sticks: Upright Posture and Bipedal Locomotion 29

3 The Technology of Fire: Cooking, Nakedness, and Staying Up Late 55

4 The Technologies of Clothing and Shelter: Hats, Huts, Togas, and Tents 81

5 The Technology of Symbolic Communication: Music, Art, Language, and Ethnicity 106

6 The Technology of Agriculture: Permanent Villages and the Accumulation of Wealth 139

7 The Technologies of Interaction: Ships, Writing, the Wheel, and the Birth of Civilization 167

8 The Technology of Precision Machinery: Clocks, Engines, and Industrial Society 201

9 The Technology of Digital Information: The World Wide Web of Human Interaction 240

10 Our World at the Brink: Is Humanity Drifting Toward a Planetary Catastrophe? 266

Acknowledgments 301

Notes 303

Bibliography 325

Index 361

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