Thursday, 28 July 2011

ViSa Blogging:Technology: Nature of technology

ViSa Blogging:Technology: Nature of technology

Technology is the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose.

Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species' ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The human species' use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment. Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. However, not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history, from clubs to nuclear weapons.

Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, opining that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition. Indeed, until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations.

The Nature of Technology may refer to four main points: High technology, State of the Art, Technological convergence and Technology tree.

* High technology:

High tech is technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced technology currently available. It is often used in reference to micro-electronics, rather than other technologies. The adjective form is hyphenated: high-tech or high-technology. (There is also an architectural style known as high tech.)

There is no specific class of technology that is high tech — the definition shifts over time — so products hyped as high tech in the 1960s would now be considered, if not exactly low tech, then at least somewhat obsolete. This fuzzy definition has led to marketing departments describing nearly all new products as high tech.

High Tech Economy

Because the high-tech sector of the economy develops or uses the most advanced technology known, it is often seen as having the most potential for future growth. This perception has led to high investment in high-tech sectors of the economy. High-tech startup enterprises receive a large portion of venture capital; However, if investment exceeds actual potential, as has happened in the past, then investors can lose all or most of their investment. High tech is often viewed as high risk, but offering the opportunity for high profits.

Like Big Science, high technology is an international phenomenon, spanning continents, epitomized by the worldwide communication of the Internet. Thus a multinational corporation might work on a project 24 hours a day, with teams waking and working with the advance of the sun across the globe; such projects might be in software development or in the development of an integrated circuit. The help desks of a multinational corporation might thus employ, successively, teams in Kenya, Brazil, the Philippines, or India, with the only requirement fluency in the mother tongue, be it Spanish, Portuguese or English.

High-tech sectors

The sector approach classifies industries according their technology intensity, product approach according to finished products.

* Aerospace
* Artificial Intelligence
* Biotechnology
* Computer Software
* Electrical Engineering
* Nanotechnology
* Nuclear Physics
* Robotics
* Telecommunications

High-tech society

An overall society based in high-tech is something generally unattainable by the definition comprising its scarcity among every technology available. Many countries and regions like United States, Singapore, Canada, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Australia, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Brazil and France can be in general considered high-tech societies in relation to other countries, since it is common for its citizens having access to technology that is presently at the cutting edge, in consumer's terms, as can parts of India (Bangalore, Mumbai) and China (Shanghai, Beijing). Research oriented institutions such as ESA, MITRE, NASA, CERN, and universities with high research activity such as MIT and Stanford might be considered high-tech microsocieties in relation to the general surrounding socio-economic region or overall activity sector.

* State of the Art:

The state of the art is the highest level of development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field, achieved at a particular time. It also applies to the level of development (as of a device, procedure, process, technique, or science) reached at any particular time usually as a result of modern methods.

The origin of the concept of "state of the art" mainly took place in the beginning of the twentieth century. Though the scientists and literary people who used to work on different art related subjects have already done some sort of work but the real application of the concept of this term was basically used in the book of Gas Turbine in the year 1910. The use of the term "state of the art" was first used in the literary work and over time its usage increased in all fields where art has significant role. In this relation it has been quoted by the author that "Although eighteenth century writers did not use the term, there was indeed in existence a collection of scientific and engineering knowledge and expertise that can be identified as the state of the art for that time." In the earlier writings and the literary work of 19th century, there is no evidence of use of the term ‘state of the art’. It can be considered as the recently coined concept as it was not used anymore in providing the description of the information and practices. For the time, the concept of state of the art can be used for the inclusion of new knowledge and expertise in the present world.

Definitions of State of the Art

The concept of “State of the Art” is defined as, “The level of knowledge and development achieved in a technique, science”. According to this definition, the state of the art is basically a unique art with the inclusion of the specific knowledge of the people in order to provide a particular unique framework. There are several synonyms of the phrase “State of the art” such as advancement, stylish, artistic work, modern and several other words. In other words, the “State of the art is defined as, the incorporation of new ideas and the most up to date knowledge in order to make advancements in the already existing knowledge”. According to this definition, State of the art is the process with which a new unique idea is incorporated in any field of technology, literature and architecture. In general language, state of the art is defined as the development of new techniques and procedures by expert people in a particular field.

* Technological convergence:

Technological convergence is the tendency for different technological systems to evolve towards performing similar tasks. Convergence can refer to previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications), and video that now share resources and interact with each other synergistically.

The rise of digital communication in the late 20th century has made it possible for media organizations (or individuals) to deliver text, audio, and video material over the same wired, wireless, or fiber-optic connections. At the same time, it inspired some media organizations to explore multimedia delivery of information. This digital convergence of news media, in particular, was called "Mediamorphosis" by researcher Roger Fidler, in his 1997 book by that name. Today, we are surrounded by a multi-level convergent media world where all modes of communication and information are continually reforming to adapt to the enduring demands of technologies, "changing the way we create, consume, learn and interact with each other".

Convergence in this instance is defined as the interlinking of computing and other information technologies, media content, and communication networks that has arisen as the result of the evolution and popularization of the Internet as well as the activities, products and services that have emerged in the digital media space. Many experts view this as simply being the tip of the iceberg, as all facets of institutional activity and social life such as business, government, art, journalism, health, and education are increasingly being carried out in these digital media spaces across a growing network of information and communication technology devices.

Also included in this topic is the basis of computer networks, wherein many different operating systems are able to communicate via different protocols. This could be a prelude to artificial intelligence networks on the Internet eventually leading to a powerful superintelligence via a technological singularity.

* Technology tree:

In strategy computer games, the technology tree or tech tree is a hierarchical visual representation of the possible sequences of upgrades a player can take, by means of research. The diagram is tree-shaped in the sense that it branches at certain intervals, allowing the player to choose one sequence or another. Typically, at the beginning of a session of a strategy game, a player may only have a few options for technologies to research. Each technology that a player researches will open up more options, but may or may not, depending on the computer game the player is playing, close off the paths to other options. The tech tree is the representation of all possible paths of research a player can take.

A player who is engaged in research activities is said to be "teching up," "going up the tech tree," or "moving up the tech tree." Analysis of a tech tree can lead players to memorize and use specific build orders.

* Watch The Conversation Nature of Technology: University of Michigan Taubman College Future of Technology:
Description: University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning hosted the Future of Technology conference on September 24 & 25, 2010. An international roster of speakers, academics and practitioners addressed some of the most critical issues facing our technological future in four sessions, comprised of 15-minute segments and a panel discussion. Topics included: Digital Publics, Technology of Empowerment, Smart Technology and the Nature of Technology. The presentations were free and open to the public. For more information about the event:

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