Knowledge, Technology & Policy LO18215

Ben Compton (
Fri, 29 May 1998 09:33:05 -0500

Replying to LO18203 --

Ed Brenegar and Don Wiggins get into an interesting conversation about the
nature of technology:

Ed Brenegar writes:
> Here's my take. Technology is any physical object used to enhance human
> endeavor. It may be a stick, flint and some rope, or it could be a
> computer and modem. The advent of the automobile, plane, telephone, and
> the computer and it's peripherals enables me to do the work that I do.

Don Wiggins writes:
> I agree, except for the phrase "physical object". For example, I'd
> consider systems dynamics as a technology, as well as many of the
> intellectual tools, techniques, and methods discussed on this list.

I think to a large extent technology determines who we are as individuals
and as a society. It is human nature to discover technology - - new ways
of doing things; inventions that simplify or expedite the way we live,
artifacts that signify our deepst beliefs, aspirations; tokens that
exemplify what we view as sacred.

Take for instances the Egyptians and the Incas. Both of these societies
developed technology that allowed them to move huge chunks of stone,
manipulate them with phenomenal expertise, and build entire cities out of
stone. Many of these stones were used to build places of worship, or to
signify important societal events. Today we struggle to figure out how
they manipulated stone like they did. The use of stone as a building
block, and the use of stone to record a civilizations history, help us
define who the Egyptians and the Incas (and the Mayans) were.

The greek emphasized philosophical technology, as well as a different
style of architecture. Their architecture was very congruent with their
philosophy, and their culture.

Our civilization has emphasized travel, computational devices, and medical
science. Sure we have large, beautiful buildings, but none that will stand
the test of time like the Egyptians or the Greeks (except in a few
instances). Our technology emphasizes our belief that speed is good, that
efficiency is a huge value.

Hence my belief that our technology reflects who we are, what we aspire to
become, and what we believe in. In organizations you can tell a lot about
a company by looking at the technology they employ. Their values are in
their technology. At least that's my experience.

Benjamin Compton
DWS -- "The GroupWise Integration Specialists"
A Novell Platinum Partner

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