Archive for December, 2016

Pass It On!

December 12, 2016

sq_pass_it_on3Is humankind selfish by nature or altruistic? Are people competitive or cooperative? Tribal or cosmopolitan? The short answer to all these questions is yes. We are both of those things, and often at the same time.

In this new age of nationalism and protectionism, we are diminished by our choices made from fear and small mindedness. Almost all the knowledge we have is from the choices, both good and bad, made by our forebearers, and those they have met and helped and been helped by along the way. Certainly our individual hard work does us credit, but most of the credit goes to what is automatically given to us at birth.

This includes but is not limited to: our language and our culture; our knowledge and science; our heritage and cultural relationships; our technology and skills; our education and institutions. All this and more, generated by our ancestor’s struggle to survive and flourish, as well as for the survival and flourishing of their progeny and their society.

As we think the horizons of our future recede we squabble over our claims and our distrust. I think we are made better more by our sharing of knowledge than our hoarding. Of course the things shared must have value; they cannot be lies or false or fake. Let us extend our concerns to all of humankind and to the earth we share.

  • If someone can create something, then others can make it.
  • If someone can find or discover something, then others can know, see, or grasp it.
  • If someone can teach something, then others can learn it.
  • If someone can demonstrate or show something, then others can use, do, or apply it.

Pass it on!

Also See:

Invention and Discovery

https://equivalentexchange.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/invention-and-discovery/

[*9.87]

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The Anatomy of Technology

December 5, 2016

sq_technology

Does technology have a fundamental structure? Does it have a unifying code? I am of the mind that technology is the totality of all tools devised by humankind. If so, what constitutes a tool? Again, I believe in a very broad definition, and think language and culture are also tools and thus technology.

Van Wyk proposes that technology is “created competence.” This competence performs actions (processing, storing, transporting) on stuff (matter, energy, information). sq_technology_frameworksThis begins the first framework of a technology, its anatomy. Along with anatomy, three other frameworks of a technology to consider are its taxonomy, evolution, and ecology.

In my diagram above, I have added a fourth action: that of creation. After all, technology is created competence. One might say technology cannot create, but is itself created. It is true that matter and energy cannot be created, but their shape and flow can be designed. Also, it seems that information can be created, and not just processed.

Further, I propose another addition to the stuff that technology acts upon: technology itself. Technology is often a mix of matter, energy, and information, and so technology can operate on technology and recursively act on and also improve itself. So perhaps both information and technology can at least be thought of as created.

So, in order to broaden the scope of the anatomy of technology, I propose changing the anatomical grid from 3 x 3 to 4 x 4. Then we have as actions

  • Creating & Designing
  • Storing & Accessing
  • Moving & Dispersing
  • Changing & Processing

Of course, the 3 x 3 anatomical grid is a well researched tool, and the changes I propose may not be justified or useful.

References:

Rias J. van Wyk / Technology: a fundamental structure? Knowledge, Technology, and Policy. 9/2002 Vol 15, Issue 3 (14-35)

PDF at http://cdigital.uv.mx/bitstream/123456789/10226/2/Rias%20J.%20van%20Wyk.pdf

http://www.technoscan.com/

To read:

Rias J. van Wyk / Technology – a unifying code: a simple and coherent view of technology (2004)

Frederick Christoffel Lochner / The functionality grid as paradigm for management of technology

PDF at http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/17994

Notes:

Van Wyk’s technological analysis is called Strategic Technology Analysis (STA).

In N. Katherine Hayles’ “My Mother Was a Computer”, three modalities of information are making, storing, and transmitting. Interesting that processing is not listed as a modality.

http://www.annehelmond.nl/2007/05/15/my-mother-was-a-computer-digital-subjects-and-literary-texts-n-katherine-hayles/

[*1.37, *3.32, *8.30, *9.2, *9.154, *9.176, *9.177]

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