Technology is the central adaptation of humans. We create new technologies to solve every problem we have ever encountered. Does technology evolve? Or does it just seem that way?
Saturn: Evolution of Technology
Of course, technology can’t evolve because it is not a living species, just the tool of naked apes. Seeing technology in another way George Basalla wrote:
“because technology is not necessary in meeting the animal needs of humans, philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset defines technology as the production of the superfluous. He remarks that technology was just as superfluous in the remote Stone Age as it is today. Like the rest of the animal kingdom we, too, could have lived without fire and tools. For reasons that are obscure, we began to cultivate technology and in the process created what has come to be know as human life, the good life, or well-being. The struggle for well-being certainly entails the idea of needs but those needs are constantly changing. At one time need prompted the building of pyramids and temples, at another time it inspired movement about the earth’s surface in self-propelled vehicles, journeys to the moon, and the incineration and irradiation of entire cities.
We cultivate technology to meet our perceived needs, not a set of universal ones legislated by nature…
A perceived need often coincides with an animal need, like the need for nourishment. Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the fact that humans have now chosen an excessively complex, technological means of satisfying basic necessities.” (p. 13)
Basalla, G. (1988). The Evolution of Technology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
What do you think? Is technology a superfluous use of human time, or is it something that comes from our evolutionary history. Is technology a tool that we have used to do more
than survive in an environment that is hostile? Is it somehow hard-wired into our beings to create physical objects, be they 2.5 million year old Olduwan stone tools or pixles representing text, to change our environment to our advantage?
The nature of technology is central to the nature of humans. Technology is the creation of things in the physical world and is the body of knowledge that allows us to teach the art of creating to others. I create therefore I am.