Theory of FormsA theory introduced by Plato in the 4th century BC that became a basis for mathematics and science. The theory of forms suggests that the world is based on immutable, timeless and changeless entities known as forms that can be used to describe and predict all things.
CompassThe magnetic compass for navigation was invented in China in the 11th century. This was adopted by Europeans as a steering method around 1410 leading to the Age of Discovery in the Renaissance period. This in turn led to the Age of Imperialism.
Gunpowder RevolutionGunpowder was invented in China as early as the 9th century. This didn't spark a military revolution in Europe until 1446 when the Ottoman Empire produced a large cannon known as the Dardanelles Gun with rounds weighing over 1,000 kilograms. This could knock down castle walls with a single shot and instantly made the thousands of castles that had been built in Europe militarily vulnerable.
MechanizationThe use of machines in production that sparked the First Industrial Revolution around 1760.
Internal Combustion EngineA design for a liquid fuel burning engine was developed as early as the 1760s that would later become the basis for the automobile that would transform societies, cities and culture on a global basis.
Darwin's Theory of EvolutionThe 1859 book On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin quickly became a foundation of science that had vast impact on the way that people view themselves and nature.
Einstein's Theory of RelativityEinstein's theories of special and general relativity were largely accepted by science in the 1920s overturning Newtonian physics that had been established for around 200 years.
Quantum MechanicsA fundamental theory of physics that describes nature at small scale such as atoms and subatomic particles. This mostly emerged in the 1920s and makes it clear that small things don't follow the same laws as large things. Quantum mechanics also revealed that at a small scale, the world is uncertain and probabilistic. This deflated the dominant 19th century view of the universe as a deterministic machine that could be predicted with certainty given enough information.
Nuclear WeaponsThe development of the first nuclear weapons by the United States in 1945 and subsequent decision to drop these bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This changed the nature of war and lead to the Cold War based on a doctrine of mutually assured destruction.
Digital ComputersThe development and advancement of digital computers before and during WWII. This is the basis for the digital revolution.
Personal ComputersThe introduction of small computers such as Simon to the consumer market around 1950. This eventually lead to the consumerization of technology.
Global InternetThe rise of the global internet in the mid 1990s whereby large numbers of computers were connected to a shared network.
Long TailThe global internet allowed everyone to participate in processes that were previously dominated by professionals. This changed society, communications, politics and business models.
Mobile InternetThe introduction of internet connectivity on mobile devices beginning with the role out of 2G in the late 1990s.
Cloud ComputingThe structuring of computing as a utility service, known as cloud computing, has transformed information technology and economies.
Internet of ThingsInternet of things is the process of embedding computers in everyday things and connecting them to the internet.
Artificial IntelligenceThe development of self-learning and self-improving services and machines.
RoboticsRobotics based on digital computing emerged in the 1950s but this is arguably still in its nascent stage.
NotesOne of the reasons that the term paradigm shift sounds cliche is that it is often used to describe things as fundamental changes to science, society or industry that are in fact ordinary ideas or changes with minimal impact. The examples above indicate the large scale of an actual paradigm shift.Each advancement in knowledge and technology tends to make the next advancement faster resulting in accelerating change.
|Overview: Paradigm Shift|
An advancement in knowledge that has large scale impact for human civilization.