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What is Digital Technology? 

© by Max Pixel

Everywhere you look, you will find digital technology. Whether in your home, office, pocket, or shopping malls, digital technology is rapidly transforming the world. You are likely using digital technology to read this article. But what is digital technology? 

In this article, we’ll learn about digital technology, starting from its definition to its history and benefits. You will also see a few examples of digital technology in action. 

Understanding Digital Technology

Digital technology refers to electronic tools, devices, and systems that process, transmit and store data in binary form. Unlike analog technology, which carries data in wavelength signals, digital technology encodes data as true or false, on or off. 

The term digital technology encompasses all the systems and devices that encode and use the binary number system to represent data. These devices range from digital watches and televisions to cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence. Digital technology has changed how we learn, communicate, work, and much more. 

The History of Digital Technology

The digital revolution began in the mid-20th century with the invention of vacuum tubes and transistors. Vacuum tubes led to the development of first-generation computers, while transistors gave way to the second generation and other modern systems. The American engineers that developed these devices used a mathematical concept described in the 17th century. This mathematical concept was binary computing, and it relied on voltage levels represented by ones and zeros. 

Transistors paved the way for the development of digital devices. In 1969, APARNET was established, thus leading to the internet. The first mobile phone was invented in 1983 by Motorola called the DynaTAC 8000X. It was followed by the development of the World Wide Web in 1989. All these inventions contributed to the development of digital technologies as we know them today. 

How Digital Technologies Work

As mentioned earlier, digital devices like computers process and store binary data. While most people think of binary as a series of ones and zeros, those are merely representations of “true” (1) and “false” (0). A digital device contains wires and circuits that carry electrical signals representing bits. A single bit can either be on or off, but never both. 

One bit represents the minimal data that a digital device can carry. Modern computer systems are 32-bit and 64-bit, respectively, indicating how much data they can process in a single cycle. Binary values become useful for computation by using AND gates, OR gates, and NOT gates. Current can flow across different paths based on whether these gates are opened or closed. All of these components work together to allow the computers inside our devices to perform basic calculations. This description is a simple CPU.

At its core, a central processing unit (CPU) only has four operations: add, subtract, copy, and compare. All functions that a computer performs boil down to these four tasks. For example, copying a file is simply many copy and compare operations performed in a loop. Deleting a file is just subtracting its data down to zero.

Examples of Digital Technology

Digital technology covers a majority of the tools and devices we use today. Laptops and smartphones are classic examples of digital technology. The internet is also part of this revolutionary technology. Here are a few other examples of digital technology:

  • Websites
  • E-Commerce
  • E-Books
  • Blockchain Technology
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Social media
  • Digital watches and smartwatches
  • 3D printing
  • Cloud Computing

Benefits of Digital Technology

  • Rapid Sharing of Information

Advances in digital technology have ushered in new methods of communication such a video conferencing and social networking. Thanks to these communication tools, information can now flow from one person to another in a couple of seconds. Rapid sharing of information enables people to know in real-time issues happening all over the world. It also allows businesses to communicate easily with their customers through tools like email and SMS. Business owners can send bulk messages through digital technology, create SMS marketing campaigns, and automate message sending with service providers like Appointible

  • Automation of Processes and Systems

Digital technology paves the way for large-scale process automation across many fields. Digital systems such as the Internet of Things (IoT) enable control of home appliances at the touch of a button. 

Robotics has facilitated the automation of industrial manufacturing, leading to significant increases in productivity and safety. 

  • Easy Learning

Education has enjoyed many benefits as a result of digital technology. E-learning is now the preferred choice for many parents, teachers, and students. Digital video conferencing and online chats provide instant feedback on the course material, answers to questions, and private tutoring.

By utilizing these modern conveniences, schools and students can reduce costs on travel and supplies and focus on education.

  • Mass Storage of Information

Digital technology enables the storage and retrieval of tremendous amounts of data through devices like smartphones and PCs. It eliminates the need for bookshelves and cabinets. Cloud storage even reduces the need for local storage media. With cloud services, you don’t need hard disks and flash drives anymore. You can easily access and share files with other people by sharing the cloud link.

  • Transportation

One of the most significant areas of advancement has been in the transportation industry. Digital technology brought vehicle automation to new heights, literally. Aircraft have advanced artificial intelligence to detect and mitigate problems. Likewise, car manufacturers are now testing entirely driverless models.

The vehicles on the road today have sensors to detect problems and oncoming objects. Some also have GPS navigation systems to plot destinations and suggest the best routes of travel. Artificial Intelligence is as well prevalent in the transportation industry through self-driving cars and trucks. 

In Summary

Digital technology encompasses all electronic devices, tools, and systems that encode, process and store data in binary. This revolutionary technology is everywhere. It is in your home, workplace, roads, cars, and so on. Digital technology began with the invention of transistors and vacuum tubes in the 20th century. 

Examples of this technology include digital gadgets, social media, websites, and artificial intelligence. Digital technology enables quick sharing of information, enhances automation of processes, and eases learning. It improves how we live, communicate, work and learn.