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Total Time—1 hour, 30 minutes

Question 1 (Document-Based Question)

Suggested reading and writing time: 55 minutes

It is suggested that you spend 15 minutes reading the documents and 40 minutes writing your response.
Note: You may begin writing your response before the reading period is over.

Directions: Question 1 is based on the accompanying documents. The documents have been edited for the purpose
of this exercise.

In your response you should do the following.

• Thesis: Present a thesis that makes a historically defensible claim and responds to all parts of the question. The
thesis must consist of one or more sentences located in one place, either in the introduction or the conclusion.
• Argument Development: Develop and support a cohesive argument that recognizes and accounts for historical
complexity by explicitly illustrating relationships among historical evidence such as contradiction,
corroboration, and/or qualification.
• Use of the Documents: Utilize the content of at least six of the documents to support the stated thesis or a
relevant argument.
• Sourcing the Documents: Explain the significance of the author’s point of view, author’s purpose, historical
context, and/or audience for at least four documents.
• Contextualization: Situate the argument by explaining the broader historical events, developments, or
processes immediately relevant to the question.
• Outside Evidence: Provide an example or additional piece of specific evidence beyond those found in the
documents to support or qualify the argument.
• Synthesis: Extend the argument by explaining the connections between the argument and ONE of the
o A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or geographical area.
o A course theme and/or approach to history that is not the focus of the essay (such as political,
economic, social, cultural, or intellectual history).


1. Evaluate the extent to which advancements in science and technology led to socioeconomic change from 2000 to

Document 1

Source: "Technological Progress", published online at, 2019

Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie (2019) - "Technological Progress". Published online at Retrieved from:
'' [Online Resource]


Document 2

Source: IBM’s (International Business Machines Corporation) press kit for the release of Watson, a question-
answering computer system, 2010

Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability, representing a new era in computing.
Watson analyzes high volumes of data and processes information more like a human than a computer—by
understanding natural language, generating hypotheses based on evidence, and learning as it goes.

As organizations work to make more data-driven decisions -- 2.5 billion gigabytes of data being created every
single day, they need advanced systems that are able to crunch massive amounts of structured and unstructured
data and deliver actionable insights within seconds. Deloitte estimates the cognitive computing market will
expand in five years to $50 billion in the U.S. alone.

Since its triumph on the television quiz show Jeopardy! IBM has advanced Watson’s capabilities and made it
available via the cloud. Watson now powers new consumer and enterprise services in the health care, financial
services, retail and education markets. IBM has also opened the Watson platform to developers and
entrepreneurs, enabling them to build and bring to market their own powered by Watson applications for a
variety of industries.

To continue Watson’s advancement, IBM has created two business units: Watson, established for the
development and commercialization of cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies and Watson Health
dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to surface new insights from the massive
amount of personal health data being created daily to deliver personalized healthcare.

“IBM Watson.” IBM Press Room RSS, International Business Machines Corporation, 2010, www-

Document 3

Source: Steve Jobs, iPhone Keynote at MacWorld, 2007

Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been – well,
first of all, one’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very
fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world. In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It
didn’t just change Apple, it changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and… it
didn’t just – it didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry.

Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with
touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet
communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone;
and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod,
a phone … are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it
iPhone. Today, today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is.

Bishop, Todd. “Transcript – IPhone Keynote 2007.” European Rhetoric, University of Salzburg, 2008, www.european-


Document 4

Source: Mike Keefe, editorial cartoon, “Drone Warfare”, 2013

Keefe, Mike. “Drone Warfare.”,, 2013.


Document 5

Source: Eric Topol, U.S. News Health article, “How Technology is Transforming Health Care”, 2013

But the most precious part of our existence – our health – has thus far been largely unaffected, insulated and
almost compartmentalized from this digital revolution. How could this be? Medicine is remarkably conservative
to the point of being properly characterized as sclerotic, even ossified. Beyond the reluctance and resistance of
physicians to change, the life science industry (companies that develop and commercialize drugs, devices or
diagnostic tests) and government regulatory agencies are in a near-paralyzed state, unable to break out of a
broken model determining how their products are developed or commercially approved. But that is about to
change. Medicine is about to go through its biggest shakeup in history.

For the first time we can digitize humans. We can remotely and continuously monitor each heartbeat, moment-
to-moment blood pressure readings, the rate and depth of breathing, body temperature, oxygen concentration in
the blood, glucose, brain waves, activity, mood – all the things that make us tick. We can image any part of the
body and do a three-dimensional reconstruction, eventually leading to the capability of printing an organ. Or, we
can use a miniature, handheld, high-resolution imaging device that rapidly captures critical information
anywhere, such as the scene of a motor vehicle accident or a person's home in response to a call of distress. We
can determine all 6 billion letters ("life codes") of a person's genome sequence.

And all of this information about an individual can be assembled from wireless biosensors, genome sequencing
or imaging to be readily available, integrated with all the traditional medical data and constantly updated. We
now have the technology to digitize a human being in highest definition, in granular detail, and in ways that
most people thought would not be possible.

Topol, Eric. “How Technology Is Transforming Health Care.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 12 July
2013, 12:00 a.m.,

Document 6

Source: Matt O’Brien, Associated Press, “Will robots take your job? Quarter of US workers at risk”, 2019

Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence
accelerates the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report.

Thursday’s report from the Washington think tank says roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high
exposure” to automation — meaning at least 70 percent of their tasks could soon be performed by machines
using current technology. Among those most likely to be affected are cooks, waiters and others in food services;
short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers.

“That population is going to need to upskill, reskill or change jobs fast,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at
Brookings and lead author of the report.

Muro said the timeline for the changes could be “a few years or it could be two decades.” But it’s likely that
automation will happen more swiftly during the next economic downturn. Businesses are typically eager to
implement cost-cutting technology as they lay off workers.

O'Brien, Matt. “Will Robots Take Your Job? Quarter of US Workers at Risk.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 24 Jan. 2019


Document 7

Source: Image of the launch of Falcon Heavy, a carrier rocket created by SpaceX, a private aerospace
manufacturer and space transportation services company, 2018

Seemangal, Robin. “SpaceX Successfully Launches the Falcon Heavy-And Elon Musk's Roadster.” Wired, Conde Nast, 7 Feb. 2018,



Document Explanations

1. Supercomputing power graph

a. This document was chosen to fulfill the “chart, graph, or map” requirement, and it
directly shows the most empirical proof of a rise in technological capability
within the time period defined by the question. While this graph directly shows a
certain aspect of “scientific advancement”, its implications and resulting
socioeconomic changes must be deduced by the reader. The effects of the trend
shown in the graph must be explained or synthesized with other sources for this
document to achieve its full effect. This source, out of all of the sources presented
here, gives its argument from the least biased point of view to the largest general
audience; its raw statistics can be used to argue for many points, granting the
answerer a large degree of freedom.
2. IBM Watson press kit
a. This document is the first primary source shown in the DBQ, and it comes
directly from IBM, a company involved with drastic scientific advancements
within the last two decades. Its historical context is rife with examples which the
answerer can select to enhance his or her argument, including any and all
examples of the rise of artificial intelligence, or supercomputing. Answerers
should notice that this source is being given to a very particular audience; it is a
press kit, so this is a source trying to sell the idea of Watson to a myriad of
members of the press. This gives answerers an opportunity to consider how their
essay will align or disagree with the perspective given.
3. Steve Jobs iPhone Keynote
a. This document comprises the second primary source shown in the DBQ, this time
coming from a direct transcription of a Steve Jobs speech at his technology
conference MacWorld. Answerers should immediately recognize the significance
of this speech; the iPhone’s monumental effect on the world cannot be overstated,
so any takers of this test will be able to acknowledge the importance of this
particular scientific advancement. Any additional evidence around Apple, or other
competing technological brands, are worth considering when addressing this
document. This source also comes from a very skewed perspective; Steve Jobs
himself is trying to sell and advertise his new product to his base of consumers at
MacWorld. One should consider this bias when dealing with this document.
4. Drone Warfare political cartoon
a. This document fulfills the political cartoon requirement; plus, it is clearly
representative of the political cartoon art style and attitude of the 21 st century.
While having the slew of usual political cartoon elements (satirical dialogue,
labeled symbols, clear political messaging), this cartoon was selected due to its
differing perspective on the kinds of change that scientific advancement has led
to. While the primary sources have been warm towards the thought of
proliferating technology, this example is apprehensive, even fearful; it is designed
to get answerers to acknowledge all types of scientific advancement, even those
beyond what simply makes life more convenient.
5. U.S. News article
a. This document comprises the first of the “secondary sources”, a.k.a. the media
documents detailing the effects of scientific advancement on the United States.
The article was selected to allow the answerer to consider the effects of expanding
technology in numerous fields of science overall; when combined with multiple
different sources, the answerer should now have a number of topics to address for
any given paragraph. This article is distinctly offering an optimistic viewpoint
towards the growth of technology, citing numerous medical operations which
only became possible within the time period enumerated within the problem.
Along with Document 6, these secondary sources were chosen to be as valid and
trustworthy as possible, representing the typical validity of any given professional
news source in U.S. media.
6. Associated Press article
a. This document comprises the second media document; this time, the article offers
a distinctly pessimistic viewpoint on the proliferation of technology, offering an
interesting contrast with the previous document. This source is the more empirical
of the two news sources, citing a professional report and a qualified expert within
the short excerpt. With this document, ignoring the potential ‘cons’ of
technological advancement is practically impossible. This gives answerers the
ability to excel using the nuances of the benefits and pitfalls of scientific
advancement. It is worth noting that about half of these sources come from 2018
or 2019; because the question asks for change over a time period, it is sensible
that numerous sources would come from the end of that time period, analyzing the
changes of the past twenty years and predicting future events from an informed
7. SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch photo
a. This document fulfills the “any other” requirement, as it is simply a photo of the
launch of Falcon Heavy, a launch vehicle / carrier rocket from SpaceX, a
privately owned aerospace manufacturing company. Since the document itself
does not offer too much in the way of information, keen answerers must apply
their knowledge to explain the significance of the photo. Here, numerous
examples of outside information can be applied, including the various
undertakings of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, or the unprecedented reusability of its
booster rockets, or its unique status as a privately owned company in contrast to
NASA. One may use the scenario pictured to argue a variety of points; similar to
the graph, pictures tend to provide readers with lots of historiographical freedom.
Pieces of Evidence

1. To preface the rise of computing power as described in numerous documents, one may
refer to the very invention of microprocessors. For specifics, the first microprocessor was
created by Intel in 1971, known as the Intel 4004. One could trace the evolution of this
technology through the following decades as they become integral to the proliferation of
PC’s (personal computers).
2. Likewise, one can also mention the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989, as well as
its broader significance along with the propagation of the Internet. Many documents
interact with the increase in digital communication and sharing across Internet-connected
devices, so it is a great idea to talk about this topic during the contextualization.
3. One could also mention the founding and development of the most famous user
technology companies today, which were mentioned in the documents, including
Microsoft, Apple, and Intel. The efforts of monumental figures such as Bill Gates or
Steve Jobs would be valuable additions to the contextualization as well, as they fueled
much of the development of personal computers leading up and through the 21 st century.
4. To refer to the article talking about technology’s effect on health care, one can cite
numerous examples of technology’s ability to radically shift health care in the past,
including through revolutionary advancements in sanitation, medication, antibiotics,
penicillin, vaccines, etc. A short contrast of the quality of life for Americans before and
after these technological advancements will work very well (e.g. the polio vaccine).
5. Finally, to lead up to the discussion of privatized space travel, one can mention the whole
of scientific development on space travel through the decades leading up to the 21st
century. NASA, the Apollo missions (Apollo 11 being the most significant example),
satellites, space walks, the ISS; all serve as a very poignant example of scientific
advancement’s effect on a very specific aspect of American technology, and pairs well
with a discussion on how those changes affected American society and the public.
Beyond the Evidence
1. Just one example of supercomputing’s power can be seen in the new technology known
as ‘deep learning’ which allows machines to self-teach, or improve their ability to
accomplish certain tasks by human-programmed protocols, but without any need for
human input. One can extrapolate how this could lead to the obsolescence of human labor
even in jobs beyond easily-mechanized manual labor.
2. As an example of a question-answering computer system beyond IBM’s Watson, one can
turn to their smartphones. Apple’s Siri functionality fulfills an identical purpose,
answering questions posed in natural language by its users, just as Watson is designed to
do. As with most technological advancements, one can identify the trend of previously
slow, massive operations becoming slimmer and more accessible to everyday consumers.
3. If one wants to analyze the effects of technology on society specifically, look no further
than the popularization of social media throughout the 21 st century. Starting with
MySpace and Facebook and extrapolating outwards to Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat,
scientific advancements have led to America becoming more connected socially than
ever before. The positive and negative consequences of this can be discussed in equal
measure, making for a great opportunity for nuanced analysis.
4. While SpaceX is still prevalent due to its use in Document 7, one may also discuss
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s other undertakings, including his electric car company Tesla.
The effects of cars built on renewable energy resources throughout the past two decades
are worth discussing, but the advent of self-driving motor vehicles as a commonly
available product is even more applicable in this context, allowing for discussions about
the feasibility and effect of this ongoing development throughout the present and coming
5. As the military’s use of technology becomes prevalent in Document 4, one might also
consider the government’s utilization of mass surveillance to retrieve information and
monitor potential threats. Institutions such as the CIA use the widespread nature of the
Internet and unprecedented developments in camera and identification-tracking
technology to gain access to more information than ever; this has moral qualms which
have had divided effects across the American public, which can be analyzed thoroughly.