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What is Technology?
Only a few species make use oftools. There i evidence of stonet l Th       is id        f taxes used by Homo Erectus 1.6mi...
Tools were used mainly forexistence (food and shelter)                      shelter),but also for social evolutionas well....
Tools are much older thanwriting and even older thanlanguage, and are known bythe body as much as by themind.  i d
The Earliest Known Forms of Human Adornment - Circa132,000 BCE – 98,000 BCEThe Earliest Use of Pigments - Circa 400,000 BC...
Between 8000 and 4000 BCE(that is, about 10,000 years ago)a form of accounting developedthat used little clay tokens torec...
Payment for:Work/labour                                  p                            EnvelopeSignature/Seal              ...
The first clay tokens were symbolicrepresentations of real things.  p                         gEventually, the tokens were...
1. Tokens pressed into envelope to indicate contents                                                       3. Token impres...
Pictograms      Glyph               Cuneiform3000 BC          2800 BC                    2600 BC   2600 BC                ...
Technology as a word:                   A History
Proto-Indo-EurotecTo makeGreektechneart, skill, craft, methodlogikosreasoning, thinkingtechnologiat h l isystematic treatm...
Some claim that the first appearanceof the word technology in its modern                    gymeaning was in Dr. Jacob Big...
Is Technology = Applied Science ?
Technology was originally much more of acraft or art than an applied science                             science.Newcomen’...
Prior to the 19th century, what wethink of as technology more oftenthan not had female connotations,since technology was a...
Between 1820 1910 th wordB t      1820-1910, the    d“technology” gradually acquiredmainly male connotations.Do you think ...
Today, the word technology    y,                  gymeans more than just:1. Things/Tools1 Thi /T l
2. Techniques
3. Technology as a SystemTechnological systems are a complex web ofhardware, knowledge, inventors, operators,consumers, co...
4. Technology as a Way of Thinking and Seeing                          the World                          Technology can a...
5.5 Technology as a Form of LifeTechnology is no more a tool than language is a tool.That is, technology becomes an essent...
"Myth is a dramatic vision of life, and we nevercease making myths, accepting myths, believingmyths" (Dorothy Van Gh )   h...
Oedipusand theSphinxThebes isTh b i suffering from a           ff i   fmenace of nature: theSphinxwhat walks on four feet,...
HumansThe third foot istechne,techne our ability tocraft and usetechnology.In the myth it is this        myth,third foot, ...
This third foot can also be a swordJust prior to Oedipuss              Oedipus sconfrontation with the Sphinx,Oedipus slay...
This is a tragic vision:             g       Technology is both a blessing and a       curse, and these two natures are   ...
//www.mwcag.org.au/orange/labyrinth/Theseus_Minotaur_Mosaic.jpg  Theseus and the Minotaur’s Labyrinth                     ...
Yet at the heart of this technologicalmarvel is a true menace: the minotaur.      One can journey into the labyrinth, but ...
Theseus escaped via the forethoughtand reason of Ariadne’s thread.       A way out of the confusing labyrinth       that i...
PrometheusGift of Fire toHumanityHispunishment:Having his livereaten every  tdayHumanity’spunishment:?
Pandora’s BoxWhich contains“toil, pain, and hope”
Plato in his dialogueProtagoras:Prometheus steals fire aswell as “wisdom in thecrafts”“Although man, acquired inthis way w...
Thus according to Plato, Prometheus(and humanity at large) suffer becausePrometheus stole only part of what weneed to live...
Plato argued that the tragedy of        g                g ytechnology can be almost totallyavoided by first and foremost ...
www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com/pictures/echo‐narcissus‐1903/    Narcissus and Echo                 … as interpreted by Mars...
Technologies are extensions or expansions of ourselves   “Now the point of this myth is the fact that men at once   become...
Within the Narcissus trance, we aretoo numb to recognize that “Man intheth normal use of technology … is          l      f...
For McLuhan, the best way to avoid this Narcissus trancein the face of technological change “is simply in knowingthat thet...
Computers and Society 02 - What is Technology
Computers and Society 02 - What is Technology
Computers and Society 02 - What is Technology
Computers and Society 02 - What is Technology
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Computers and Society 02 - What is Technology

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Presentation for COMP 3309 (Computers and Society), a third-year course in our CIS degree. This presentation unpacks the different meanings of technology and examines some of the different evaluative approaches to take to the study of technology. Also has a section on mythological understandings of technology.

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Computers and Society 02 - What is Technology

  1. 1. What is Technology?
  2. 2. Only a few species make use oftools. There i evidence of stonet l Th is id f taxes used by Homo Erectus 1.6million years ago. From theiremergence, Homo Sapiens havebeen using tools. g
  3. 3. Tools were used mainly forexistence (food and shelter) shelter),but also for social evolutionas well. And once a tool isdiscovered, new uses aredi ddiscovered for its use.
  4. 4. Tools are much older thanwriting and even older thanlanguage, and are known bythe body as much as by themind. i d
  5. 5. The Earliest Known Forms of Human Adornment - Circa132,000 BCE – 98,000 BCEThe Earliest Use of Pigments - Circa 400,000 BCE –350,000 BCEThe Earliest Musical Instruments - Circa 33,000 BCEThe Earliest Examples of Figurative Art (Venus ofSchelklingen) - Circa 38,000 BCE – 33,000 BCE
  6. 6. Between 8000 and 4000 BCE(that is, about 10,000 years ago)a form of accounting developedthat used little clay tokens torecord the sale or purchase ofgoods.
  7. 7. Payment for:Work/labour p EnvelopeSignature/Seal 1 large measure of barley + 2 small measures of something else Contents of 4 days envelope 4 measures of metal
  8. 8. The first clay tokens were symbolicrepresentations of real things. p gEventually, the tokens were y,replaced by symbols representingthe tokens.
  9. 9. 1. Tokens pressed into envelope to indicate contents 3. Token impressions replaced with pictograms for things represented b t k thi t d by tokens. 2. Tokens pressed onto flat “sheet”, thereby eliminating need for tokens in an envelope.
  10. 10. Pictograms Glyph Cuneiform3000 BC 2800 BC 2600 BC 2600 BC (stone) (clay) 2000 BC 1800 BC
  11. 11. Technology as a word: A History
  12. 12. Proto-Indo-EurotecTo makeGreektechneart, skill, craft, methodlogikosreasoning, thinkingtechnologiat h l isystematic treatment of anart, craft, or technique
  13. 13. Some claim that the first appearanceof the word technology in its modern gymeaning was in Dr. Jacob Bigelow’s1829 book The Elements ofTechnology.
  14. 14. Is Technology = Applied Science ?
  15. 15. Technology was originally much more of acraft or art than an applied science science.Newcomen’s steam engine or Edison’s inventions werenot really dependent upon a knowledge of math orphysics.
  16. 16. Prior to the 19th century, what wethink of as technology more oftenthan not had female connotations,since technology was associatedwith the useful arts, such aspottery, beer, and textile making.
  17. 17. Between 1820 1910 th wordB t 1820-1910, the d“technology” gradually acquiredmainly male connotations.Do you think that is still true?
  18. 18. Today, the word technology y, gymeans more than just:1. Things/Tools1 Thi /T l
  19. 19. 2. Techniques
  20. 20. 3. Technology as a SystemTechnological systems are a complex web ofhardware, knowledge, inventors, operators,consumers, corporations, laws, and othersinvolved in a technology technology.Thinking critically abouttechnology thus requiresknowledge of the system asa whole, how it was created(history), and how theparts interact.
  21. 21. 4. Technology as a Way of Thinking and Seeing the World Technology can also refer to a way of thinking, or a way of interpreting the world. worldTo understand technology, we have tounderstand the technological engagementwith the world.
  22. 22. 5.5 Technology as a Form of LifeTechnology is no more a tool than language is a tool.That is, technology becomes an essential part of life; itbecomes part of the essence of life and thus becomeshidden or taken for granted. To understand technology, we have to de-routinize it, understand its role and its embeddedness in our lives.
  23. 23. "Myth is a dramatic vision of life, and we nevercease making myths, accepting myths, believingmyths" (Dorothy Van Gh ) h (D h Ghent)This is true with tec ology as well. Part o t e s s t ue w t technology a t of thepurpose of this course is to expose many of ourcommon beliefs about technology as myths.But as well, some ancient myths can still speak tous in regards to technology. People thousands ofyears ago also had to worry about newtechnologies and society as well, and their myths wellspeak to this concern.
  24. 24. Oedipusand theSphinxThebes isTh b i suffering from a ff i fmenace of nature: theSphinxwhat walks on four feet, and two feet, and three feet and has only one voice; when it walks on most one voice; when it walks on mostfeet, it is weakest?
  25. 25. HumansThe third foot istechne,techne our ability tocraft and usetechnology.In the myth it is this myth,third foot, humanity’stechnological know-how, that is at theroot of Oedipus’ssuccess and failure.
  26. 26. This third foot can also be a swordJust prior to Oedipuss Oedipus sconfrontation with the Sphinx,Oedipus slays a stranger—hisfather atfather—at a crossroad with hissword.Oedipus thus personifies theambiguity of the human creature,an ambiguity that lies in his thirdfoot, his ability to use his craft-knowledge for both good and evilat the same time.
  27. 27. This is a tragic vision: g Technology is both a blessing and a curse, and these two natures are indivisible. If we want the blessings, then we have to live with the drawbacks. But this wasn’t the only way that wasn t the ancient Greeks viewed technology.
  28. 28. //www.mwcag.org.au/orange/labyrinth/Theseus_Minotaur_Mosaic.jpg Theseus and the Minotaur’s Labyrinth The Labyrinth of King Minos of Crete at Knossos was considered the technological marvel of the ancient world.
  29. 29. Yet at the heart of this technologicalmarvel is a true menace: the minotaur. One can journey into the labyrinth, but j y y , slaying the monster concealed in the technology is more difficult … … as is escaping from the technology
  30. 30. Theseus escaped via the forethoughtand reason of Ariadne’s thread. A way out of the confusing labyrinth that is technological change is possible via rational appraisal and by maintaining a link to the past. This course is an attempt at maintaining a thread of Ariadne …
  31. 31. PrometheusGift of Fire toHumanityHispunishment:Having his livereaten every tdayHumanity’spunishment:?
  32. 32. Pandora’s BoxWhich contains“toil, pain, and hope”
  33. 33. Plato in his dialogueProtagoras:Prometheus steals fire aswell as “wisdom in thecrafts”“Although man, acquired inthis way wisdom of dailylife, civic wisdom he hadnot, since this was still inthe possession of Zeus”
  34. 34. Thus according to Plato, Prometheus(and humanity at large) suffer becausePrometheus stole only part of what weneed to live good lives: Prometheus stole f h l fire (technology), b ( h l ) but did not acquire civic wisdom. That is, having technological mastery without grounding it properly in a just political order is a recipe for suffering.
  35. 35. Plato argued that the tragedy of g g ytechnology can be almost totallyavoided by first and foremost thinkingabout technology in the context of itssurrounding society and its politicalorder. This course is all about this practice …
  36. 36. www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com/pictures/echo‐narcissus‐1903/ Narcissus and Echo … as interpreted by Marshall McLuhan
  37. 37. Technologies are extensions or expansions of ourselves “Now the point of this myth is the fact that men at once become fascinated by any extension of themselves in y y any material other than themselves.” “To behold, use or perceive any extension of ourselves in technological form is necessarily to embrace it.” “It is this continuous embrace of our own technology … that puts us in the Narcissus role of … numbness in relation to these images [extensions] of ourselves.”
  38. 38. Within the Narcissus trance, we aretoo numb to recognize that “Man intheth normal use of technology … is l ft h l iperpetually modified by it.”As such, we tend to be completelyunconscious of the real effects oftechnology on the individual and onsociety and simply embrace eachnew technology uncritically.
  39. 39. For McLuhan, the best way to avoid this Narcissus trancein the face of technological change “is simply in knowingthat theth t th spell can occur immediately upon contact.” ll i di t l t t”That is also part of what we will try to be doing in thiscourse: understand both the obvious and also thesometimes subliminal and subtle consequences of our ometime blimin l nd btle on eq en e otechnological infrastructure.

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