An Essay of Technology

I’ve been reading an excellent book (well listening to an excellent book) “The Nature of Technology” by W. Brian Arthur. In this tomb he strives to define technology (and by the end of chapter two has done a very good job). Which brings me to of course my response to this.

What is Technology?

First it is hard to imagine my ever finding fault with technology, so this disclaimer first.

  • I work in the technology world
  • I wouldn’t have my sons without the advanced capabilities of modern medicine fueled by technology

But I do question our world of technology often. I find myself able to use things that others struggle with, and then help others use that device (which helps me be better, but they simply move to mediocre) and this bothers me. Things should be simple and easy to pick up and use.

  • I am reminded both of the fictional and reality of “adepts” and what that means.
  • I am reminded of people’s innate fear of technology.

In “The Nature of Technology” Arthur talks about concepts of nature and technology that are blended. He points out that systems often evolve. They are originally collections of components that eventually become a single “technology” although he argues that in fact they are not single technologies, rather groupings or compilations of many technologies into a single “phenomena”.

For many years I was willing to dismiss the inability of technology to gain footing due to the overall limited number of adepts in the world. I’ve dismissed that though as it implies that technology adeptness unlike reading and writing cannot be taught. I’ve always told people in the technology world, want to improve your speaking skills? Go become a 2nd grade teacher for a semester. At the end of that you will have much better speaking skills. The same I believe is true for technology adeptness. You can teach it.

Even a flashing DVD player is right twice a day.

More thoughts on this later…


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