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Which Chinese invention had the most impact?


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Which Chinese invention had the most profound impact on the modern world?  

  1. 1. Which Chinese invention had the most profound impact on the modern world?

    • Paper
      11
    • Paper money/Credit cards
      0
    • Mariner's compass
      1
    • Gunpowder
      5
    • Printing press/moveable type
      7
    • Seismograph
      0
    • All of the above
      2


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Which Chinese invention do you think had the most profound impact on the development of the modern world?

Some of the most important inventions were invented during Han dynasty, but were not "modernized" into practical application until Tang and Song times. Gunpowder was invented during Han, began to be utilized for military purposes during Tang, and reached a high point during Song in the form of cannons and hand grenades.

The compass was invented for astronomical purposes during Han, and later used for seafaring purposes during Song. The Arab world may have beaten the Song in creating the first mariner compass. Later the compass spread to Europe and played a key role in discovering the New World.

Cai Lun invented the paper during the Han dynasty. Later, Chinese POWs from the Battle of Talas taught the Arabs at Samarkand how to create paper. The Arab world spread this knowledge to Europe via trade.

The world's first paper money was created during the Song dynasty, starting in Sichuan province. Urbanization and entrepreneurial activity defined city life in Song times. Merchants could buy on credit without having cash in their pockets.

The printing press and moveable type invented during Song provided the prototype for Guttenberg's moveable type enhancement. Guttenberg's moveable type played an important role in spreading religious ideas across Europe. This was instrumental in the development of the nation-state across religious lines in Europe.

Finally a seismograph created during the Han dynasty provided advance warnings of an earthquake. A device contained a dragon's mouth with a ball inside. When the earth shook, the ball would roll out to the direction of the earthquake's epicenter.

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This is a freakin' hard question. They had all had such a large impact but in many different ways. Of course you could argue that gunpowder wouldn't have had such a large impact with out the compass because then they wouldn't know where to go to kill people. But the boat wouldn't have existed without the instruction manual on paper :mrgreen:

Okay so I'm being fasictios (spelling) but I will have to really think about this one. My gut instinct is gunpowder due to literal physical impact that was used up until nukes and oh wait we still use it. So I guess the impact I am looking at is the human factor.... I'll vote after some more thought...

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All six inventions are unarguably among the most outstanding achievements in human history for having enhanced our understandings of some underlying natural/social laws as well as our abilities in governing this world. In this perspective, any one of the inventions listed above deserves no more, or less, historical significance than the others.

However, I gave my final vote to paper. It doesn't mean that I favored knowledge propagation over other findings, but simply because, when considering 'the most profound impact on the development of the modern world', I personally think paper today has already transcended the primitive application as a medium for knowledge propagation. Unlike other inventions, which acted as specific solutions to distinct problems, paper and paper-making brought people to a more primary idea of economy and efficiency, in not only information carrying but also compartmentalization of different matters. Therefore, in today's world, 'paper', which possibly gave rise to the concepts like 'membrane', 'layer' and so on, is not exclusively found to be made from wood or grass, or used in printing, but has gained applications in other areas, such as paper money, package, surface protector etc.

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Paper, the mariners compass, and moveable type all had a substantial impact on world history. However, gunpowder changed the world completely. For at least two centuries gunpowder and which group or country had the best weapons using gunpowder defined which countries had the most power. The many empires that ruled most of the world in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and the first half of the 20th century was very much defined by who had the best weapons that used gunpowder.

卓武

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My vote goes to the movable-type press. It's invention led directly to the education of everyone alive today. Before movable type, the masses were unable to afford a book, let alone read it. With it, everyone with opportunity and an inkling can learn as much (or as little) as they want. I'd also like to add that basically, the entire corpus of human knowledge was made possible by movable type. Is that really less significant than another way to kill people?

Compass is second. Try flying on a plane, using a gps device or doing much of anything without one.

Paper money: every culture had something that worked as a unit of exchange. While extremely useful, it is not anywhere as world changing as movable type. Paper money, in my opinion, didn't really become useful until it stopped being tied to commodities like gold and silver.

Paper: useful, but there were alternatives, like papyrus in the Middle East. SIlk was used quite extensively, in China, too.

Gunpowder goes last for the effect it has had in killing people and destroying cultures. I have trouble naming anything good that has come from gunpowder.

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Gunpowder goes last for the effect it has had in killing people and destroying cultures. I have trouble naming anything good that has come from gunpowder.

Whether it was a good impact or not there is no denying the massive impact it did have.

I have to agree with Cheuk Mo on this that it literally did change the face of the world and so my vote goes there but with a very very close second to paper, and then the compass, and then the printing press. I think the credit card/paper money type of idea was already circulating and would have found a way whether the Chinese invented it or not so that is very low on my list.

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I voted paper. Movable type and the printing press are out in my book, because the way I understand history, the methods didn't spread from China but were independently invented in Europe.

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I voted paper. Movable type and the printing press are out in my book, because the way I understand history, the methods didn't spread from China but were independently invented in Europe.

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the Egyptians create their own form of paper as well? I thought paper was also one of those developed independently as well in Europe.

Aside from that I would have to agree. They did good at inventing them earlier than others but failed to gain the usage over the world.

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among the best known companies of paper, gunpowder, compass and printing machine how many of them are chinese? (hmmm i know most of them should be manufactured in china) :P

My father worked his entire adult life in the paper industry. I don't know if this counts but, most paper companies are moving their papermills to China. The best known gunpowder companies are in the U.S. As for the compass and printing machines, I don't know.

卓武

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