If we talk about innovation that changed the world, we can’t skip Money and DNA. Both have transformed our lives radically. On a lighter note, we say now that money is in our DNA.
The question is how did money get embedded in our DNA through generations. Also, what is DNA which connects generations and transforms lives.
The topic might seem an interesting one but I also believe this to be true.
Money has made our lives simple. We might not feel the power of innovation now but back in the days, like the invention of fire, money would have been greatest invention. I would rather term them as innovations as they always existed. When something is invented or discovered and used profitably, we call it an innovation.
One of my earlier posts discusses about the discovery of fire, An innovation par excellence.
Money- An innovation that changed the world
Song Dynasty Jiozi, world’s earliest paper money
Innovations have always been attracting humankind and what can’t be taken out of a human is the innate creativity and a desire to innovate.
There have been numerous inventions and innovations over the years and scientists, researchers, artists and common people around us have amazed us by innovations which we cherish till date. We feel indebted to those who invented or discovered fire, electricity, ship, wheel, Television, phone, IPhone, Computer etc as these are the things which, one way or other, affect our day to day lives.
However, we ignore one of the greatest innovations of all time in our list of great inventions and that is money. Money is undoubtedly an innovation that changed the world.
Related article- Discovery of Money
Money is said to be used first around 3000 BC before which the only mean of selling or buying was barter. However, values and perceptions being subject to change and with no uniformity in transactions, the barter system still remained the norm for thousands of years after advent of human civilization.
It is believed that around 3000 BC money came into existence. It allowed the value of goods to be traded rather than the goods themselves, thus making it possible to sell and purchase mass quantities.
According to Herodotus, the Lydians were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coins. It is thought by modern scholars that these first stamped coins were minted around 650–600 BC.”
“In Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (1875), William Stanley Jevons famously analyzed money in terms of four functions: a medium of exchange, a common measure of value (or unit of account), a standard of value (or standard of deferred payment), and a store of value.”
It was a unique innovation as it redefined behaviour. Money gave people an added freedom and a strength from within.
People could travel to far off places who were previously bounded to a few mile zones from their habitat. Travelling earlier was very difficult to great distances as that required a lot of goods and products to be carried along to serve as a barter.
Travelling meant an integration of societies which meant greater trade. This led to unification of culture and subsequently led to the spread of education and transfer of technology, to name a few.
Facts about Money
The largest coins ever minted are said to be made of stone and weighed over 4 tons.
The question however remains as to why they were made and what purpose these coins of humongous sizes served. These coins might be a product of experimentation that led to the evolution of money as well over the time to the current sophisticated and organized liquid form.
These changes led to evolution of societies as well. Money gave freedom to societies and integration of money helped in cross cultural mixing and cross education which helped easier passage of innovations and inventions within territories.
A sense of unification and espoused values were also by-products of the new system which evolved with money. Unified and vast civilizations were not possible without money in some form or the other and this helped in development of taxation rules which was required for social and public welfare like roads, transport, hospitals, education centres etc.
Fire and Wheel are said to be one of the greatest inventions of all times but ‘Money’ would be right there together with these inventions, which changed how humans behaved. It acted like a catalyst to the human evolution. Person who made money or a group or society which made life easy for all of us by inventing money must be hailed as one of the greatest innovators of all times.
This invention quantified value and a price was put on everything. Money could virtually buy everything, and like every invention had both positive and adverse facets tagged to it.
In the current era when epics can be stored in minute chips, money is completely liquid as well and can be carried through hassle free means like cards, cheques, online banking etc.
DNA- An innovation that changed the world
In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered DNA while working at Cambridge University. The duo suggested that the correct model for DNA structure was the double helix model and famously walked into a local pub and exclaimed, “We have found the secret of life.”
Here is a short and easy to digest animation video on how DNAs work (Credit- Marshall Thompson)
Creativity is ubiquitous and the whole point of getting into the discussion is how creativity is embedded into the DNA. Each one of us is blessed with creativity and there is a pattern to creativity and innovation and we just need to crack the code.
A few decades ago, it was not possible to track criminals merely on the basis of fingerprints. DNA has been notably important to the field of forensic science. It was the finding of DNA that led to the research which revolutionized finger impression recognition. While the discovery of DNA has perhaps impacted medicine the most, its contribution to other areas is still similarly significant. Paternity cases have an enormous impact on families and children around the world.
Related geeky article about discovery of DNA- DNA function
The impact of DNA on agriculture as well has been important because it has allowed the breeding of animals that have a better resistance to diseases. It also allows farmers to produce more nutritious produce based on researches on healthier and nutritious crops.
It is definitely an innovation that changed the world. While the discovery of DNA has been a significant one in the twentieth century, it will continue to revolutionize medicine, agriculture, forensics, paternity and many other important fields in society in the coming centuries. This innovation has opened the door to crack all secrets of human life through various research studies and is indeed commendable.
It is exciting, scintillating and terrifying as the world awaits further revelations about the secret world of the human life.
There are many more similar innovation that are similar in importance. Fire, Wheel, Printing press. I have covered a few of them in another post discussing 4 innovation in technology that changed human conduct.
What else do you think should belong to this elite club of glorious innovations?