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What is technology? But it isn't what you believe

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Technology seems to be more important than ever among human beings. In fact, it seems to literally be even in the soup. But you have wondered how you see technology and if that vision is a wide or narrow one. In this sense, these questions, among others, shall be answered here so that their possible responses may favor the resolution of your daily problems, without such answers are being considered as kitchen recipes.

So, when you think about technology, perhaps the first things that come to your mind are computers, smartphones or digital tablets, for instance. But can you just think about technology in that sense? This can merely happen if your notion of technology is narrow. The dictionary by Merriam-Webster, in this way, defines the concept in question, according to one of its meanings, as “the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area: ENGINEERING…".

But what if that notion could be extended? Since, in this case, technology would also embrace the ordered ways of doing something, a task, for example. In effect, the notion in question would also include work methods (or techniques), and not just technological artefacts. Here, by the way, it is worth clarifying the following question: Are technique and technology the same thing? No, they are not the same thing. Its main difference is related to the improvement dimension, that is, technology undergoes improvements, but not techniques [1].

For example, a technology is a VCR, which is related to home theater, due to such a technology has undergone improvements over time, this is, it has passed from VCR to Betamax, from this to VHS, from this to DVD, and from this to Blu-ray. And finally, from Blu-ray to streaming platforms. Otherwise, a technique (or a set of techniques) may be the way of preparing colaciones (traditional candies made in Quito, Ecuador) since it would not have got improvements more than 100 years ago, according to Luis Banda (published by one of the newspapers of Ecuador El Comercio, digital version -April 4, 2015). By the way, Mr. Banda would possibly be the only one person in Ecuador, or at least in city of Quito, who would still continue producing such candies, nowadays.

A wide definition of the concept in question may be suggested, thus, so that it may favor in a better way the understanding of what technology is. Like this, ‘technology is a set of methods, techniques, procedures, processes, artefacts, tools and knowledge that undergo improvements over time, which allow individuals and collectives not just to know about something, but also helps them to develop general and/or specific solutions so as to resolve their daily problems’ [2].

Otherwise, when may technology be considered as such? A technology may be called technology when it contributes to solve practical questions, for instance. Besides, different or similar technological objects could contribute to resolve the same problem. So, for example, why are only some of those objects known and/or used by people? Because a technological object in order to be considered a technological artefact would not just rely on that such object is useful for people and is made up of certain elements, from an electronic or digital nature, but would also need the consensus of specific stakeholders (investors, producers, technologists, among other social actors) so as to be declared as technological artefact [3]. In this sense, Wiebe E. Bijker, an expert in Social studies of technology, indicates, among other questions, that ‘society is constructed technologically, and technology is constructed socially’ [4].

It may be said, thus, that technological artefacts may be those that have become to be known and/or to be used by people, and others that have not become to be known and/or to be used by people may be named technological objects, for instance [5].

In short, the ideas what have been suggested in the present article could not have been expected by you, but if you see technology from another perspective, so you could be able to solve problems which have not been solved yet, for example. Thus, we should not forget that new lenses may give you the possibility of seeing the world in a dissimilar way.

[1]Salazar, Ronnie (2011). Algunos obstáculos en la gestión de la innovación tecnológica para la competitividad: ¿cómo superarlos? Disponible en:

[2]Ibid, Salazar, 2011.

[3]For more information, refer to Thomas, Hernán y Buch, Alfonso (2013). Actos, actores y artefactos. Sociología de la tecnología. Bernal: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes Editorial.  

[4]Bijker, Wiebe E. (1995). Of bicycles, bakelites and bulbs. Cambridge: The MIT press.

[5]Ibid, Thomas y Buch, 2013.







Etiquetas:   Innovación   ·   Sociología   ·   Internet   ·   Ciencias   ·   Tecnología   ·   Metodología   ·   Base de Datos   ·   Ecuador   ·   Smartphone   ·   Guayaquil

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