[xmca] $.02 on technology

From: bb (xmca-whoever@comcast.net)
Date: Thu Feb 09 2006 - 09:50:25 PST

I won't belabor you with a definition, except to note that quite a while ago
I did look this word up in my favorite dictionary -- a very thick Webster's
unabridged 1880 paper version -- to understand its etymology. It was quite
exciting to find 'technology' derives from the Greek words for art and

Teaching in a program called 'technology in education' means that I encounter
the polysemy of 'technology' quite often. Most of the time in public
conversation and education we are referring to 'digital technology', meaning
those classes of technology-writ-large that function electronically with the
boolean logic of ones and zeros. Since George Boole completed his
mathematical logic of truth/false values (mapping to ones and zeros) in the
1800s, long before electronic computers came of age, digital technology is
actually quite older than we normally assume. And of course, one cannot
ignore all those mathematical giants upon whom Boole stands.

Aside, Boolean logic, as GB thought of it, definitely qualifies as a tertiary
artifact. Embedded in silicon, Boolean logic seems to defy such a strict and
static categorization.

Anyway, for the purpose of clarity, when I use 'technology' it is more so in
the sense used in cultural anthropology -- a fairly broad and historical
perspective of human makings. So while non-digital forms such as lasers,
fuel cells, carbon composites, etc. do apply, so do spoons and bottles. In
education the only institution I know that promotes the more broad
interpretation is the International Technology Education Association.
"Human innovation in action" as ITEA puts technology, still has to be
recognized for its long cultural and historical bases (plural emphasized).

Catharsis feels so good.
xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Mar 01 2006 - 01:00:03 PST