PHI 251 Blog Post #1

What’s technology? Who cares/Why should anyone care how “technology” is defined?

Technology is something that does not have a clear definition to me. I feel like it has such varied applications, functions, and usages depending on who you ask, what their cultural background is like, what generation they’re from, and a myriad other things.

When the average person thinks about the word technology in 2022, I’m sure their first thoughts are about cell phones or computers as the primary example of what can be defined as technology. They aren’t wrong, of course; those are both devices that fit under the aforementioned definition. If you asked them to give some other examples, they would likely tell you about cars or spaceships or medical devices. Maybe this is just what I would say as I’m thinking of things to put in this blog post to answer the vague question of “What’s technology?”

For me, I really feel like anything can be technology if it serves a function to do something that we cannot normally do. You tie a pointy rock to a stick and suddenly you have a spear that you can use to hunt game. I don’t know who the first person that saw a decomposing animal or plant and thought, “I can use that as a fuel to burn for energy.” But that’s technology too. Even human beings can be technology as was defined in one of our readings as a “mega machine” that was used to build the pyramids. If one follows the notion of B.F. Skinner’s belief regarding behaviorism, then the human mind is also a form of technology. You hear the analogy a lot that our brain is like a supercomputer, and that’s not an absurd notion when you consider how much it can do in a matter of microseconds by firing off neurons that allow my brain to tell me to hit the keys on this keyboard in sequential order to form coherent thoughts.

Why should anyone care how technology is defined, though? They shouldn’t. I feel like you would want me to elaborate in some lengthy diatribe like what I provided above with the first half of this prompt, but it’s really about as cut and dry as that. They just shouldn’t. How one person defines technology could be and likely is vastly different from how another person defines it. And that’s just called being humans. We’re inherently contrarian by nature and are always questioning the meaning and reasoning behind things. That’s why philosophy is even a thing in the first place. It’s like asking a person why they pronounce it “gif” versus “jif.” It just doesn’t matter in the long run and it sure doesn’t hurt anyone.