The Fruits of Civilization – Technology


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ~ English writer Arthur C. Clarke

Science is the study of Nature, with an eye toward understanding its principles. Technology is the product of engineering, which is the methodological application of science.

Science and engineering are intertwined, in that technology affords scientific advance. The heavens would not have opened to view had it not been for telescopes. Conversely, diminutive dimensions would be inaccessible without microscopes.

The history of technology is the history of how accumulated knowledge and organized desires have utilized technical possibilities. ~ American philosopher John Searle

Technology is not confined to artifacts, nor is engineering just the vehicle for creating technology. The 2 are essentially synonymous: engineering is technology. The skills by which technology develops – engineering – is the most valuable element. Technological artifacts represent statements of engineering evolution. Most saliently, engineering is a social exercise, made possible only by cooperation.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” ~ English physicist Isaac Newton

Societal qualities, especially education levels and openness, have either engendered or encumbered innovation. History is replete with reinvention.

There are innumerable illustrations of the incremental nature of innovation, and the difficulty with which humans make conceptual breakthroughs, which only seem obvious in hindsight. The wheel is exemplary.

The earliest wooden wheels appeared ~6000 BCE. 1,500 years later came the potter’s wheel. It then took the better part of a millennium for wheeled vehicles to arrive, forever changing transport.