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The Ongoing Technological System by Smaïl Aït-El-Hadjait

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2The Historical Dynamics of Technological Systems: Putting the Contemporary Technological System into Historical Perspective

In order to put the contemporary technological system into historical perspective, it is important to present the dynamics of historical technological systems as early as the pre-industrial period, with the first significant force driving technological change appearing in the Middle Ages [GIM 75]. This in turn initiated the development of a large technological system that would endure until the end of the 18th Century. At this point, being a system that had reached its “limits”, it gave rise to a new technological system that is referred to as the first industrial revolution.

2.1. The great pre-industrial technological system

From the 12th to until the end of the 18th Century, the first pre-industrial technological system was put in place, bringing increasing complexity and innovation. Its constant characteristic was to base innovation trends on a process of increased scales, complexified relationships and repositioning traditional technical foundations that remained unchanged: water and wind as energy sources, wood, stone and hemp as materials, etc. This system thus underwent three development and innovation waves that we will discuss in the following sections.

2.1.1. The industrial revolution of the 12th Century. The medieval wave of a permanent innovation movement

The technical momentum that took place in the 12th Century was transformed into three ...

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