We define technology as the application of scientific knowledge to human means. It is the step-by-step process of transforming scientific knowledge into practical means of production. This process is not neutral. Instead, it serves as an enabler for human endeavors. For example, technology helps us make cars, computers, and mobile phones. These technological innovations are transforming our lives. In fact, we would not exist without them! Technology makes our lives easier! But, is it always a good thing?
Techne is the Greek word for knowledge of how to make things that would otherwise not exist
The ancient Greeks had a distinctly mixed view of techne. They tended to view it negatively when applied to craft, but regarded it positively when applied to the creation of art. Craft is a practical application of art, and knowledge of form is a necessary basis for ruling the city. While Aristotle viewed techne as an imperfect representation of nature, Socrates defined it as a synthesis of art and craft.
It is the application of scientific knowledge to practical human means
As the process of applying scientific knowledge to practical human means, technology focuses on the ethical implications of taking action. As a result, technological design can be useful or harmful depending on its intention. Generally, technology advances the standard of living in a society. It is a process of discovery, experimentation, and data gathering, with the ultimate goal of solving a problem or improving a standard of living.
It is not neutral
As an example of this, consider the low-clearance overpasses on the parkways of New York City. These are not neutral, and their design has been geared to exploit the power and control of unwitting users. There are ways to make these platforms more neutral, though, such as reducing the amount of data that is collected, allowing people to share more private images, or ensuring that they are not used for fine-tuned manipulation campaigns. However, the extent to which technology is non-neutral is directly proportional to its explicitly malicious design practices.
It is a goal-oriented process
The concept of goal-orientation is not a new one for the IT world. This concept is not limited to the technology world, however, and is also applicable to other areas, such as psychology, economics, organizational theory, and research on agent-based artificial intelligence. In fact, the term goal-orientation has roots as far back as 1934, when J. Schumpeter first wrote about it. In the context of technology, goal-orientation is often regarded as one of the basic principles of human behavior.
It is not a product of science
If you’ve ever looked around a store or walked down the street, you’ve undoubtedly seen products that are a result of science and technology. Whether it’s an advanced vehicle or a convenient commode, you’re likely using products that are a result of science and technology. As these fields continue to grow and develop, so will the number of products. Technology is everywhere, and you likely use more products than you realize.
It is not a neutral concept
While there are certainly many uses of the term “technology” in society, its most useful use is in practical description of the six branches of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, aesthetics, and ethics. Moreover, the phrase is used to distinguish between two distinct kinds of technological knowledge, which are useful in different contexts. For example, if a technological system is unintelligent, then its consequences cannot be attributed to the intentionality of its creators.