What Is Technology?

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.

- Carl Sagan, Why We Need To Understand Science

Podcast of the Day

Melvyn is joined by four guests with different backgrounds to discuss a really big question. This week he's asking how has technology changed us?

Helping him answer it are Archaeologist Matt Pope, the Surgeon Gabriel Weston, the technologist Tom Chatfield and the historian Justin Champion.

Listen to the History of Ideas episode: How Has Technology Changed Us?

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

We’re experiencing a great anxiety when it comes to the impact of technology. This public conversation is a polarised reaction to fast-paced technological transformation.

On one side are the technological fetishists, who welcome a new age of technological transcendence. People like computer scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil see the coming of hyper-intelligent machines, a “singularity”, as the next stage in evolution.

“The Singularity” is the idea that artificial intelligence (AI) will reach a stage where it will be able to engineer ever more powerful AI, leading to an exponential rise in the power of AI, far surpassing human intelligence.

In this version of the story, technology will liberate us from death, ignorance and even the bounds of our life on Earth.

Others are far more pessimistic about technology...

Continue reading Jose Ramos' article: As a human, I don't do technology. I am technology

Further Reading

If philosophy is the attempt “to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term”, as Sellars (1962) put it, philosophy should not ignore technology. It is largely by technology that contemporary society hangs together. It is hugely important not only as an economic force but also as a cultural force. Indeed during the last two centuries, when it gradually emerged as a discipline, philosophy of technology has mostly been concerned with the impact of technology on society and culture, rather than with technology itself. Mitcham (1994) calls this type of philosophy of technology ‘humanities philosophy of technology’ because it is continuous with social science and the humanities. Only recently a branch of the philosophy of technology has developed that is concerned with technology itself and that aims to understand both the practice of designing and creating artifacts (in a wide sense, including artificial processes and systems) and the nature of the things so created. This latter branch of the philosophy of technology seeks continuity with the philosophy of science and with several other fields in the analytic tradition in modern philosophy, such as the philosophy of action and decision-making, rather than with social science and the humanities...

Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article: Philosophy of Technology by Frassen et al.

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Related Topics

 Anthropology | CivilizationThe Computer | EnhancementThe Future | The Internet | Global Catastrophic Risks | Science | Sociology

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