After reviewing this week’s learning resources, respond to the following prompts:

  • Discuss how entertainment has shaped and been shaped society. Provide some examples. 
  • What do you think are the benefits and challenges of having readily available entertainment at our fingertips?
  • Shear (2019) observed that throughout most of history, entertainment was a “multi-player” endeavor, but somewhere along the way, it became a solitary activity. Why do you think this occurred? How can entertainment technology be used to promote a greater sense of community? 

Remember to use your own words, using your best writing skills, cite your sources, and provide a reference list.

Technology and Entertainment – Storytelling

BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society

Week 7

Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)


What is “Entertainment”

entertainment [ˌɛntəˈteɪnmənt]


1. the act or art of entertaining or state of being entertained

2. an act, production, etc., that entertains; diversion; amusement

What are some forms of entertainment?




Think about it:

In each form of entertainment, what are the technologies that allowed each form to advance?



Origins of storytelling

Probably dates back to the beginning of language (50,000 – 70,000 years ago)

Two forms – artistic and verbal

Storytellers – good memory, creative imaginations, dynamic presentation style

Gained respect and status


Lascaux Caves

15,000 – 13,000 BCE

Artistic storytelling

Verbal storytelling

Oldest recorded story from Sumeria

700 BCE

“Epic of Gilgamesh” – King of Uruk (Iraq)

First “book”

Tablet Image source:

Gilgamesh Image Source:


Verbal storytelling

500 BCE – Aesop’s Fables

200 BCE – fables written down for the first time

Kept alive through storytelling

A Very Brief History of Storytelling



Transmitting stories to modern times

What technologies were important?

3300 BCE – Written language developed in Sumeria – “Cuneiform”

105 AD – Paper invented in China

1456 – Movable printing press


Religious texts

1 –




Old Testament: written in parts between 1445 BCE to 425 BCE (approximate)1

1st century

New Testament: written mostly in the 2nd half of the 1st century1

610 AD

Qur’an: recitation began in 610 AD; written form 650 AD2

Ancient text meets modern technology


Evolution of printed materials

1690 –first English-American newspaper published



1776 – Thomas Paine wrote and published “Common Sense”

Sold 100,000 copies in 3 months

Best selling 18th c. publication

Ignited the American Revolution



Magazines target particular audiences (e.g., trade, consumer)

1663 – 1st magazine published in Germany

1899 – National Geographic

1922 – Reader’s Digest

1899-1967 – Magazines proliferate

1st e-book

1949 – 1st patented electronic book by Angela Ruiz – schoolteacher in Spain

1960’s Brown University – online texts and online discussions

1971 – Michael Hart credited with inventing the first true “e-book”

Michael Hart and the Rocket eBooks


An aside….

What else happened in 1971?

Ted Hoff

…Intel introduced the first microprocessor


Moore’s Law

The number of transistors that can fit on a microchip will double every two years.


…and the world changed forever

Think of what wouldn’t be possible in entertainment and other areas without the microprocessor.


1st e-reader

1998 – Rocket e-Book

2006 – Sony Reader

2007 – Amazon Kindle – blended strategy to sell eBooks via Amazon

2009 – B&N Nook

2010 – iPad – 1st successful tablet computer

2011 – Android tablets

2011 – Amazon eBook sales exceeded paperback sales


And by 2015…


Social media & Web 2.0

How is this related to storytelling?



Everyone is now a storyteller!

Blogging is a worldwide phenomenon

In the United States, 32 million bloggers (2021)



Over 2.7 billion active Facebook users (2021)

Over 1.1 billion TikTok users (2021)

Over 293 million Snapchat users (2021)

Over 206 million active Twitter accounts (2021)

Almost 1.7 million self-published titles in the U.S. (2018)


Joe Sabia: The technology of storytelling (3:33)


What do you think?

How has society been changed by the evolution of storytelling?


Technology and Entertainment – Art

BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society

Week 7

Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)




Prehistoric Art
(30,000 BCE – 8,000 BCE)

The earliest surviving nonfunctional objects from Paleolithic Era

Small stone and bone sculptures, often of female form

Cave drawings (15,000-13,000BCE)

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:


(3200 BCE – 1070 BCE)

Stiff and formal


Religious themes


Ancient Greeks
(700 BCE – 323 BCE)

Use of homemade pigments, often toxic

Art became more colorful, joyful


Ancient Romans
(500 BCE – 350 AD)

Loved art and beauty but were preoccupied with commerce and power

Borrowed art style and technique from Greeks

Artists known for portable panels, frescoes, and tromp l’oeil

Mythological and erotic scenes



Christian Art (750-985)

During Constantine era – Carolingian Art

Very religious in theme

Use of illumination (highly ornate calligraphy)


Byzantine Era (527-1453)

No perspective

Use of Illumination



Gothic Era

“The age of faith”

Known for architecture

Highly religious

Individuals seen as followers of Christ – no individualism

Emphasis on heavenly beauty and angelic images religious



Emergence of the individual and wealthy merchant class (patrons)

Paintings show figures that are powerful

Religion less important than in middle ages. More focus on natural world.

Introduction of oil painting

Emphasis on individual accomplishments


Baroque Period (1580-1770)

Art used as religious propaganda – reaction to the Reformation

Emotional depictions, use of color

Overall harmony of the painting – powerful and emotional to sway (convert) viewers


Rococo Period

Focused on the wealthy


Flattering, unrealistic depictions of the aristocracy

Overly romanticized



Valued courtly love and truth

Believed that beauty was inspirational and powerful

Decorative painting style designed to evoke emotional response

Inspired by folklore, mythology and fairytales


Impressionism (1860-1895)

Interested in effect of light on the eye, not on objects themselves

Introduced scientific way of thinking to their work

Intellectual and social group of painters


Art Nouveau

Heavily influenced by Japanese art using woodblocks

Stylized organic, ornamental shapes and patterns

How does this tie into the Industrial Revolution that was occurring at the time?


Surrealism (1920’s)

Reaction to classic art forms

Reaction to a world in turmoil

Drew inspiration from Freud

“Pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, verbally, in writing, or by other means, the real process of thought. Thought’s dictation, in the absence of all control exercised by the reason and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.”

— André Breton (The founder of the Surrealist Movement) 1924



Art Deco

Roots in Art Nouveau

Geometric shapes, highly ornamented, symmetry

Use of beige, cream, silver, black, chrome, yellow and red

Represented luxury and glamour


Pop Art
(1955 – 1980)

Reaction to fine art

Use of culturally relevant, common objects

Reaction to abstract art

Meant to be ironic


What do the trends in the art movements say about what was important in society over time?


How technology changed art



Modern pigments were important to art as well as to fashion and auto industry

Worked independently on developing more advanced technologies for better pigments

Modern paints are lightfast because of the car industry

Timeline of pigments:


Aristotle and Euclid (~300 BCE) understood basic principles of optics

Alhazen (965-1040) – “Father of modern optics” – 1st to reflect an image onto a screen


Alhazen described and used early form of camera – “camera obscura”

1814 – Niepce (pictured) – 1st photographic image – 8 hours of exposure, faded quickly


1837 – daguerreotype – 1st fixed, permanent image on silver plates, only 30 minutes exposure


First 35mm camera


1st Digital Camera (1975)

Kodak developed the 1st digital camera


Digital storage

1990 – Eastman Kodak markets CD as a digital storage device

1999 – First patent for USB flash drive

No need to develop film

Huge storage capacity for all types of media


Cloud technology

Reduces need for hard storage

Allows access anytime, anywhere

Allows for easy sharing


Motion Pictures

Merging of storytelling and art


1st talking picture

1926 – Don Juan

1927 – The Jazz Singer



1927 – Philo Farnsworth – 1st to transmit a television signal

1936 – 1st public transmission in London

1948 – 1st television network program in the US – Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle

1948 – Cable television

1953 – First color broadcast


Television’s impact


Told us how to think

Told us what to like

Told us how to behave

Shaped family life

Shaped gender roles

Shaped attitudes about race/ethnicity

Where are we today?

Movies, tv shows, music are all portable

Entertainment is immediate and personalized


How has technology changed art?

How is this related to society?


The meaning of art hasn’t changed

Greater range of media

More accessible to the masses

More accessible to a global audience

Democratizing for both artists and audience

More people can participate through digital tools (publishing software)


Art museum apps,or.r_qf.&fp=284a79cc826a3748&q=app+for+art+museum&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sa=1&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgdii=_&



Technology and Entertainment – Music

BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society

Week 7

Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)



Every culture has music

Not sure why

Parncutt theory (University of Graz)

May have evolved as a way for mothers to communicate with their children – “Motherese”

Unborn babies can hear rhythmic sounds from mother, understand mother’s state

Mothers respond to sounds babies make

Acoustic, gestural, emotional in nature

Theory is difficult to prove



Evolution of music

Parallels the evolution of art

Response to social priorities of each time period

Prehistoric instruments

Medieval music
(0-1400 AD)

Saint Gregory (pope from 590-604) organized many chants for the Church – Gregorian chant

Monophonic chants – featured human voice, no instrumentation

Polyphony didn’t begin until 11th c.

Technological advances:

Notation of musical notes begin around 900

Notation of rhythm began in 12th or 13th c.


Sample of medieval music

As you listen, remember that this was high art in its day. Think how different this form of music is from what we listen to today.


Renaissance music
(1400-1600 AD)

Individualism elevated status of composers

Famous composers: Tallis, Byrd, Palestrina (pictured)

Sacred music still written, but increasing emphasis on secular music (madrigals)

Instrumental music become more important

Invention of the modern keyboard

Polyphonic works

Example :

Image source:


Renaissance instruments


Baroque music
(1600 – 1750 AD)

Famous composers: Bach, Handel, Vivaldi

Very ornate, brilliant, bright

Bach image:

Handel image:

Vivaldi image:


1607 – first Opera “Orfeo” – combines music with theater

Orchestras formed

Soloists featured – virtuosos

Music often celebrated nature


Classical period

Famous composers:

Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven

Reenvisioning ancient Greece and Rome

Balance, proportion, discipline

Simpler than baroque period

Mozart image:

Beethoven image:

Haydn image:


What else is happening in this era?

American Revolution

French Revolution


Music for the masses

Public concerts became popular

Music available to the masses, not just the rich

Venues larger, orchestras became larger

Gave rise to symphonies created – grand, exuberant



Romantic era

Famous composers: Chopin, Liszt, Schubert

Added new instruments to the orchestra

Music was emotional, less rigid

Operas had exotic and romantic themes

Virtuosos became very popular; music was written to show off skill


Impact of Industrial Revolution on music

Chopin’s Minute Waltz:

Major improvements to the piano:

Invention of high-quality steel for piano wire

Cast iron frames

5 octaves to 8 octaves – greater range

Image source:,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=878287e9c1eca66a&hl=en&q=1800%27s+piano&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sa=1&tbm=isch&um=1&facrc=_&imgdii=_&


Contemporary classical

Very diverse, often a reaction against previous classical forms

Very secularized

Often nationalistic (Sousa, Copland, Gershwin)

Increasingly influenced by technology


Recording technology


Modern music and technology

Audiences were larger, music needed to be louder

Industrial steel used for guitar strings

1930’s – Electric amps invented

1931 – George Beauchamp invented the first electrified guitar – the “frying pan”


Modern music and technology

Robert Moog – inventor of electronic synthesizer in 1964


Sound mixing

1980’s – Recording studios mastered how to cut and splice, edit, and mix sounds together into one recording

Performers didn’t need to be perfect. Technology would fix problems.

Could perform in smaller groups and mix sounds together. Cut down on production time.

Changed how music sounded.


Other ways technology changed music

Musical media – early days

Music perpetuated publicly through written music

Celebrity and notoriety based on live performance until 1877!/img/img/Jenny_Lind_LTU.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_522/Jenny_Lind_LTU.jpg


Beginning of recorded media storage

Phonograph invented by Edison (1877)

1924 – Western Electric used electric amplifiers to magnify recorded sounds

Mass marketed from the 1920’s to 1940’s

Late 1940’s – LP’s sold cheaply on the market

1980’s audio cassettes became more popular than LP’s


Digital recording

Borrowed technology from telephone industry

1990’s CD became more popular than audiocassettes

2000’s CD-RW, DVD

MP-3 – media free audio


Music playing devices


Music streaming services

iTunes – 2003

Spotify – 2008





Napster and copyright law

Napster founded in 1999

Allowed peer-to-peer sharing of digital content at a time when music was mostly purchased in the form of CD’s.

Napster case raised questions about the ethics of copying work digitally without paying for it.

Napster was sued by Metallica and lost, but it became clear that consumers no longer wanted to pay for physical copies of music.

Gave rise to the streaming music industry. Consumers pay a fee for unlimited access to music libraries.


Music Industry Revenue: Physical media declining, streaming growing



Technology and Entertainment – Modern Trends

BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society

Week 7

Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)



Trends in modern entertainment

Reality TV

A partial list:

Response to the proliferation of cable stations

Reality TV

Inexpensive and fast to produce

Smaller production staff needed

Professional actors cost a lot of money

No need for a writer

No need for expensive sets

Advertisers pay $200,000-$500,000 for a 30 second ad spot depending on the show.

Characteristics of reality TV watchers

Characteristics of people who watch (per Psychology Today)

More competitive

Place a high value on revenge

Higher desire for status

Live vicariously through reality stars, identify with them


Gaming – a timeline


Gaming – social implications

Relatively new form of entertainment

Roots in traditional games (sports, board games)

Made possible by the electronics era

Positive Consequences?

Improved academic skills due to educational software

Inherently motivating, encourages skill building

Video games can teach self-care skills for asthma and diabetes

Improves coordination skills


Negative Consequences?

Children as young as 2 are spending more time on video games, with no decrease in television viewing

Exposure to violence and inappropriate content

Some desensitization – more aggression and antisocial behavior

Can lead to gaming addiction resulting in functional problems

Alienating and isolating

Loss of sleep, irritability

Associated with obesity

Lack of social interaction in younger people may stunt social growth

In excessive amounts, can lead to poor academic performance


Entertainment technology changing biology

Daphne Bavelier: Your brain on video games (2012)

Average gamer is 35 years old

Older adults are active gamers

Adult gamers:

Better vision – better able to pick out details, better able to see shade of grey

Better able to track moving objects

Better able to switch tasks very quickly

How is technology changing our behavior?


Entertainment evolved in parallel with the advancement of society

Has always reflected social and political climate

Increasingly shapes social and political behavior

No longer tied to a place

Mobile devices give us access entertainment that is portable and personalized

Rules of social engagement are changing: less formal, less private, more engaged


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