Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is "Technology" anyway?

So, for my first 516 blog, I have a hard time deciding what to write about. My fear with writing a blog is that I will be boring and nobody will care. Which is funny because I named my blog, "With a Little Imagination." Well, whatever. I guess that is something that I can work through this semester!!

With that being said, while starting to read Kelly's book, What Technology Wants, I started to think to myself "What is 'technology' anyway?" This is an interesting question because the answer seems so obvious (or, at least, it did to me before I starting reading Kelly's book). It seemed to me that "technology" was my DVR and the newest computers, but my scope was very limited. Kelly started to talk about technology as a culture right at the very beginning of his book. And, although this does seem fitting, he says that "culture" is too small. As Kelly works through what the definition of technology could be, he finally lands on how he refer to technology in the rest of his book as, technium. He defines "technium" as "it includes the generative impluses of our inventions to encourage more tool making" (p 12). All of this made me wonder, could the definition of technology evolve as the technology itself does? Certainly, what people thought of "technology" in the old days (although the term is relatively new) is different from how we view it today. Maybe the point is, we will have a brand new term in hundreds of years for a way to define our innovations.

This led me to more questions as I continued to read further. Like, as Kelly mentions, "Where did Technology come from?" And, since language seems like the catalyst for for 'technology,' how did it start? Who figured out that whatever sounds could come out of our mouth could be formulated into words and things that made sense and could be communicated - and the biggest question - who had that kind of patience?!?!

I guess what I am saying here is, I am getting some questions answered, but there are also a lot more questions that are coming up. Which is good - I was hoping for that.

1 comment:

  1. I agree it's a good thing to find each question splitting off into three new questions. Inquiry sometimes works that way, with an accelerated branching of new, different, and even exciting variations for response to what once seemed like a simple, straightforward question. I tend to think of technology first in terms of parts of speech. As a noun, it refers to a great range of tools, apparatuses, implements, structures, and forms. At a grand scale (i.e., its totality), I guess it's fine to call this the technium. But the word itself--technology--doesn't immediately suggest many verbs, many distinctive actions. So I am tempted first to break it into tech-nology, or techne-logic, a replicable patterning of some craft. It involves a merger of knowing and doing, or, that is, an integration of thought and action. I don't want to trail off too far with this conceptual lifting, but I expect we'll continue to circle back to these ideas this semester or at least for the next couple of weeks.