From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Ooh, techno city, hope you enjoy your stay
--"Techno City" (1984) by Cybotron
"The work of Alexius Pedemontanus De Secretis is no contemptible source from which materials may be drawn for the technological History of Inventions; and on this account it will perhaps afford pleasure to many if I here give an account of the author, according to such information as I have been able to obtain."--A History of Inventions, Discoveries, and Origins (1797) by Johann Beckmann
"It is, therefore, worth while to give a short list of some of the things the Greeks and Romans did not know, and that the Middle Ages did know. For most of the examples I shall cite I am indebted to Lynn White’s remarkable essay on Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages."--Prints and Visual Communication (1953) by William Ivins, Jr., page 8
"Virilio developed what he called the "war model" of the modern city and of human society in general and is the inventor of the term 'dromology', meaning the logic of speed that is the foundation of technological society. His major works include War and Cinema, Speed and Politics and The Information Bomb in which he argues, among many other things, that military projects and technologies drive history."--Sholem Stein
The word technology refers to the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species' ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include construction technology, medical technology, and information technology.
The human species' use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment. Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. However, not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history, from clubs to nuclear weapons.
Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, opining that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition. Indeed, until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations.
Philosophy of technology is a branch of philosophy that studies the "practice of designing and creating artifacts", and the "nature of the things so created." It emerged as a discipline over the past two centuries, and has grown "considerably" since the 1970s. The humanities philosophy of technology is concerned with the "meaning of technology for, and its impact on, society and culture."
Initially, technology was seen as an extension of the human organism that replicated or amplified bodily and mental faculties. Marx framed it as a tool used by capitalists to oppress the proletariat, but believe technology would be a fundamentally liberating force once it was "freed from societal deformations." Second-wave philosophers like Ortega later shifted their focus from economics and politics to "daily life and living in a techno-material culture," arguing that technology could oppress "even the bourgeoisie who were its ostensible masters and protectors." Third-stage philosophers like Don Ihde and Albert Borgmann represent a turn toward de-generalization and empiricism, and considered how humans can learn to live with technology.
Various philosophers, political theorists, intellectuals, ethicists, and activists have published critiques of technology's role in society. An enduring traditionalist strain within techno-skepticism dates back to late 18th-century Romantic philosophers, who "celebrated wild nature and criticized the ugliness and pollution of industrial cities." Technological determinism refers to the idea that technology causes unavoidable changes in the structure of society and culture, while autonomous technology denotes the idea that modern technology is "inevitable", outside the bounds of human control, and that its progress cannot be prevented. Cultural critic Neil Postman distinguished tool-using societies from technological societies and from what he called "technopolies," societies that are dominated by an ideology of technological and scientific progress to the detriment of other cultural practices, values, and world-views. Herbert Marcuse and John Zerzan suggest that technological society will inevitably deprive us of our freedom and psychological health.
The ethics of technology is an interdisciplinary subfield of ethics that analyzes technology's ethical implications and explores ways to mitigate the potential negative impacts of new technologies. There is a broad range of ethical issues revolving around technology, from specific areas of focus affecting professionals working with technology to broader social, ethical, and legal issues concerning the role of technology in society and everyday life.
Technology ethics encompasses several key fields. Bioethics looks at ethical issues surrounding biotechnologies and modern medicine, including cloning, human genetic engineering, and stem cell research. Computer ethics focuses on issues related to computing, including artificial intelligence and robotics. Cyberethics explores internet-related issues like intellectual property rights, privacy, and censorship. Nanoethics examines issues surrounding the alteration of matter at the atomic and molecular level in various disciplines including computer science, engineering, and biology. And engineering ethics deals with the professional standards of engineers, including software engineers and their moral responsibilities to the public. Other fields of ethics have had to contend with technology-related issues, including military ethics, media ethics, and educational ethics.
Man's relationship with technology has been explored in science-fiction literature, for example in Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Isaac Asimov's essays, and movies like Minority Report, Total Recall, Gattaca, and Inception. It has spawned the dystopian and futuristic cyberpunk genre, which juxtaposes futuristic technology with societal collapse, dystopia or decay. Notable cyberpunk works include William Gibson's Neuromancer novel, and movies like Blade Runner, and The Matrix.
History of technology
- Criticism of technology
- Diffusion of innovations
- Ethics of technology
- Futures studies
- History of science and technology
- Knowledge economy
- Law of the instrument - Golden hammer
- Lewis Mumford
- New media
- Philosophy of technology
- Technology and society
- Philosophy of technology
- The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935) by Walter Benjamin