Scalzi's got a post up on the question of whether inventions every really change human beings. It's an interesting comment thread, and I was inspired to chime in with a list of inventions I think have fundamentally changed humanity:
Basic tools: knife, string, pottery
agriculture (I added this one after talking about the idea with Christie)
the written word
telecommunications (from telegraph to PC)
I’ve tried to eliminate from this list anything that simply allows us to do what we were already doing, but faster. At first I was going to eliminate photography from the list, on the grounds that it's just a fast way of drawing, but decided to keep it in because it introduces the concept of true objectivity.
Anybody got anything else they think belongs on the list? Or objections to what is there?