Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Research

Defining Technology

Here are some different ways that technology gets defined. Which one do you think is best? What might you suggest as a better definition?

  • Technology is concerned with the human community creating and inventing assorted tools, machines and mechanisms to manipulate and exploit the natural world. Furthermore, technological application shapes not only nature, but also the human community.
  • Technology is applied science and engineering.
  • Technology is what society uses to address its needs by using it ‘to produce goods and services for the creation of wealth and for human culture to flourish. Needs and wishes come first and the technology simply fulfils them.’
  • Technology is ‘a sociotechnical system in which hardware, technique, and a particular ideological frame of reference combine to aid in the pursuit of essentially pragmatic ends, generally associated with the augmentation of human capabilities.’
  • ‘We ask the question concerning technology when we ask what it is. Everyone knows the two statements that answer our question. One says: Technology is a means to an end. The other says: Technology is a human activity. The two definitions of technology belong together.’
  • ‘Technology is therefore no mere means. Technology is a way of revealing.’
  • ‘the application of organized knowledge to practical tasks by ordered systems of people and machines’ (Barbour)
  • technology is ‘a system based on the application of knowledge, manifested in physical objects and organizational forms, for the attainment of specific goals’ (Volti)
  • Technology (technique) is ‘the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity.’
  • Technology is ‘a distinct human cultural activity in which human beings exercise freedom and responsibility to God by forming and transforming the natural creation, with the aid of tools and procedures, for practical ends and purposes.’

1 Comment

  1. Tim

    I’d be close to Barbour (and some of the others) above: Technology is the organised bundle of techniques and the understandings that undergird them, that enable “people” to achieve desirable ends.

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