Online College Courses for Credit

Then: Military Technology in Everyday Life

Then: Military Technology in Everyday Life

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Recognize how military technology has changed civilian life.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

47 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn about what has probably become the most common military technology to make it into our everyday life -- the internet. There have been many advances that we have acquired as a result of the military. We cannot say that we wouldn’t have developed these technologies had it not been for the military, but it is safe to say we developed sooner than we otherwise would have because of the military. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
  1. Military Technology in Everyday Life

before you start
How has military technology changed civilian life?

1. Military Technology in Everyday Life

Over the past few lessons, you’ve read about how the military rapidly creates and integrates new technologies. Many military innovations have gone on to be used by civilians in everyday life (Dugan & Gabriel, 2013). Nuclear technology first developed for atomic weapons is now used to generate electricity, for example, and microwaves that were first employed for radar are now used to heat food. Other military innovations that have been adapted to civilian use include the Global Positioning System (GPS) and duct tape.

And this technology crossover isn’t just a recent trend: the metalworking techniques invented to forge strong armor in the Middle Ages were also critically important to the development of agricultural tools. If we look back to the great artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, we’ll see that many of the problems he tried to solve had military origins. We can find examples of many military devices sketched in his notebooks, including early plans for tanks, fire-throwing devices, crossbows, and armed chariots (Willings, 2019). His inventions began as ways to use technology to create an advantage in war, but his ideas had far-reaching effects in civilian life as well.

Reproduction of page from notebook of Leonardo da Vinci showing giant crossbow
Drawing of a giant crossbow by Leonardo da Vinci, ca. 1485

One thing you may not know was invented in the military is the internet. Military researchers began exploring the possibility of a digital communication network in 1977, and with rising tensions during the Cold War, they worked to create a product that would let military forces coordinate and communicate more effectively. This product laid the foundation for the internet that has now become central to our lives.

In this lesson, you learned that for hundreds of years, technology developed by the military for the purpose of war has found broader applications in civilian life. A recent example of military technology in everyday life is the internet.

Best of luck in your learning!

Source: Strategic Education, Inc. 2020. Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future.


Dugan, R., Gabriel, K. (2013, October). Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems. Harvard Business Review.

Willings, Adrian. (2019, May 31). 28 Ways Military Tech Changed Our Lives. Pocket-lint.