The Big Question of the Day: Technology?

Considering that this whole blog will be heavily focused around technology, I think a pretty reasonable first entry will be concerning the question OF technology. First up, I think we should give ourselves a working definition of what exactly technology is. Is technology individual instruments such as the laptop I am currently typing on? Is technology a way of thinking, like a science or even a philosophy? Is technology just a THING that we have happened to “discover”? I think the short answer is both all and none of the above. Am I confusing you yet? Good, because now you feel about a fraction of what I feel while trying to head slam my way through Heidegger’s piece, “The Question Concerning Technology”. Should you read it for yourself so you have a better understanding of the importance of the question “technology”? While yes is a correct answer, no is the truth. Luckily for you, reader, I will be making my head hurt for the both of us in the coming weeks.

So with that confusing yes and no definition of what technology is, we are going to try and apply each definition to answer our questions. Stick with me, you’ll see what I mean. At this point, you’re probably wondering why we give so much of a crap about technology. Why should we throw all of this ambiguous way of thinking at something that seems so normal? Honestly, I don’t blame you for thinking that (trust me, I know EXACTLY how you feel). After all, technology is such an intertwined aspect of our lives, we never really do think twice about it. But, we should. Forgive the nerd in me, but technology is both terrifying and inspiring at the same time. On one hand, it’s terrifying, because here we are experimenting with AI one day, everything is fine and dandy, then suddenly BAM – Skynet happens. On the other, the rapid development of technology is inspiring. The same human race that took thousands of years to figure out how to manipulate metallic resources is the same human race that only needed 144 years to go from the very first telephone to literal handheld supercomputers. Taking a step back to compare the two, the human race has ramped up technology FAST, and it’s inspiring. That same kind of idea loosely leads to another way I think we can define technology: as a way of thinking. If you quit thinking about technology as just instruments and as a way of thinking, then a certain marvel of human ingenuity comes to light. All of these modern technologies, not a single one of them are needed to survive. We can easily live without them (well, I would be a little distraught without Quizlet but let’s not get into that), but we still have advanced to this point. Why? Because we wanted to. We are ingrained with this technological way of thinking that precedes any notion of technology as most people define it (as instruments). We went from figuring out how to create fire on our own accord to be able to talk on opposite ends of the planet with only a millisecond of delay. Did we need to for our own survival? Absolutely not, which makes it all the cooler to me. Finally, there is the most interesting take, that technology is this THING. But will I get into that right now even though I lead you on to believe that I would? That answer is a very unambiguous no – but don’t get mad at me, it’s called a cliffhanger. Blame whichever evil literary genius came up with it, not me. Will I make you wait until next week? Yes. Will I actually answer and unsuspend this question? I guess you’ll have to wait and see, so you actually have a reason to come back. Gottem!

3 thoughts on “The Big Question of the Day: Technology?

  1. I also feel the same way with how far technology has come. We literally have access to unlimited information on our smartphones. It is fascinating and scary. The devices owned by a person may be used in whatever way they want. I personally use it for social media and entertainment (when I’m done with studying, of course). However, I usually find myself trapped in my device, spending hours at a time. It’s got to a point where I would still be up at 2 AM watching Tik Tok videos (they are pretty funny though). I’ve learned throughout my school years that technology can be disruptive. It changes how we do things. One could assume the solution to this problem is to stop using your phones or laptop for Instagram and Netflix. They wouldn’t be wrong but it would be a difficult change. We’re used to social media and how much choice do we have if we don’t use these technologies? Other people will continue to use technology and you will be left out. It is almost impossible to avoid technology in this day and age. I also liked how you brought up Skynet. Technology throughout movies and books have often been perceived to be our inevitable doom. Whether it be from robots or a techno-virus (check out my blog to learn more about the techno-virus), the demise of the human race is usually our fault.

  2. You perfectly described the ambiguity of this question by not giving a direct answer to it because there is no easy way to define technology, while still pointing out the importance of attempting to understand it. I think our desire to come up with a full and true definition of technology says something about our fundamental obsession with progress as humans. When faced with a question like this we want to solve it, so we can move onto our next problem. There is something about technology that gives a lot of insight into human behavior. We always want to find a way to make things better and more efficient which I think is why we have continued to rapidly evolve our technology such as the phone. I think progress and technology are very intertwined in that technology is the tool (which can be software or hardware) that allows us to make progress towards a goal. However, when we cannot sufficiently find a definition for technology, it is bothering to some degree for me because it feels like we cannot move forward in discussing technology, even though I know this isn’t really the case.

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