Talk:Technology

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Former good article nominee Technology was a Engineering and technology good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
August 28, 2010 Good article nominee Not listed
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Definition of technology[edit]

"Technology is the knowledge and practice of how to produce things."[1]

Technology: “A knowledge of techniques, methods and designs that work, and in certain ways with certain consequences, even when one cannot explain exactly why.”[2]

Technology as distinct from science: “It is important to distinguish between science and technology, for science as such can have no place in the present volume. Though the dividing line is sometimes imprecise, it undoubtedly exists. In our context, at least, science is the product of minds seeking to reveal natural laws that govern the universe. Technology, on the other hand, seeks to find practical ways to use scientific discoveries profitably, ways of turning scientific knowledge into utilitarian processes and devices.” [3]

It should also be noted that technology before the late 19th century was not based on science. Also, engineering did not arise until the early 19th century.

“Throughout the period and indeed well into the 19th C, theoretical science was in large measure devoted to understanding the achievements of technology.”[4]

References

  1. ^ Bjork, Gordon J. (1999). The Way It Worked and Why It Won’t: Structural Change and the Slowdown of U.S. Economic Growth. Westport, CT; London: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96532-5. 
  2. ^ Rosenberg, Nathan (1982). Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-521-27367-6. 
  3. ^ McNeil, Ian (1990). An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology. London: Routledge. p. 3. ISBN 0415147921. 
  4. ^ Landes, David. S. (1969). The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. Cambridge, New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 32. ISBN 0-521-09418-6. 

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Phmoreno (talkcontribs) 14:51, 5 January 2015‎ (UTC)

Definition and usage move to lede[edit]

Definition and usage should be in lede and the poor definition in the existing lede should be eliminated. Also, the definition of engineering is incorrect. Engineering is the application of math, science and empirical data that can be used to calculate the theoretical performance of various designs.Phmoreno (talk) 02:08, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree, and would like to start suggesting some major revisions. But I'm intimidated by the wide use of this definition--it starts many of the articles in the Outline of Technology. I would propose an opening paragraph such as this--"The English word “Technology” comes from a Greek word often translated as “technique,” referring to individual knowledge and skill in some field. Today the word more often refers to a body of knowledge and skill possessed by a community. A century ago, it was called a “state of the industrial arts.” Is this talk page the place to do that? Or is there some more appropriate place to open that discussion? Thanks.TBR-qed (talk) 15:29, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
I'd say this is a fine place to have that discussion. We might do well to compare a few dictionary definitions; I'm not entirely comfortable with "body of knowledge and skills" which could also apply to science, history and linguistic ability, just to throw in some random examples. Meanwhile that sentence about engineering can go. Engineering is not the subject of the article and that definition is at best arguable and unhelpful. I'll remove it which might make editing the rest a little less daunting. NebY (talk) 07:11, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Good observations. Phmoreno made a start at comparing meanings in his prior post. I'll spend some time doing the same. I'm not clear why a multitude of "bodies of knowledge and skills" makes the phrase less appropriate for identifying technology. Can you elaborate? Thanks.TBR-qed (talk) 14:31, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, it describes technology but it doesn't identify or define it - it's just too broad. It equally describes many other spheres, such as science, history and linguistic ability or pretty much any discipline: geography, piano, mathematics.... Here's a definition from the Larousse (previously Chambers) Dictionary of Science and Technology that's a bit tighter: "The practice, description and terminology of any or all of the applied sciences which have practical value and/or industrial use". NebY (talk) 11:16, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
What would you think of this: "... the word refers to all or parts of a body of tool-using knowledge and skills possessed..."?TBR-qed (talk) 16:48, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
It's better - oh, I'm sorry for this grudging tone - but I think Larousse is right that it's more about (a) the application of science, in a broad sense, for (b) by practical enablement or industrial means. (Larousse isn't perfect - does music technology or communications technology always have practical value?) As well, Wikipedia tends to open articles with "Article title is", rather than "The phrase 'Article title' refers to" or "'Article title' means", and also to leave the history of the term for later. It can seem an odd discipline, but ideally it allows the reader to reach the point right away. Of course, the current lead sentence doesn't really do that either; I at least found myself having to struggle to the end of the sentence, parse it and reread it. Thucydides would have been proud of it. NebY (talk) 19:10, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
That definition seems to be wrong. Technology predates science:a stone axe is technology.GliderMaven (talk) 15:36, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that bothers me too - that's why I added "in a broad sense". I wouldn't use that phrase in the actual definition, I'm just suggesting that Larousse is going in the right direction by saying that technology involves the application of knowledge about the physical world. NebY (talk) 16:01, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

It's on my list to check the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of technology. I have checked an encyclopedia of the history of technology that clearly distinguishes technology from science. Also, it is a historical fact that until the 19th century, as a general rule, there was technology without science. Several historians, especially those of economic history, point out that some fields of science were developed to explain technology. Technology did not become largely science or engineering based until the late 19th century. Engineering schools appeared in the mid to late 19th century. Engineering is the application of scientific principles, empirical measurements and mathematics to technology to perform calculations for predicting and designing aspects of technology. Machines and instruments are considered to have embedded technology.Phmoreno (talk) 02:43, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

I think it's better if we don't digress into defining engineering; that suggestion that engineers just perform calculations would astonish and maybe amuse, maybe insult many engineers. NebY (talk) 16:01, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Good discussion. There seems to be general agreement that the lede--as introduction--should include a concise definition and a brief suggestion of the scope of the article; also that engineers are not anointed creators or keepers of the faith. And I hate to quote a dictionary. My earlier suggested definition of tech as a "body of knowledge and skills" was too broad, as NebY pointed out, but the new long list of tools and knowledge and actions is too complex. It contains a mishmash of means for accomplishing some end. I'm coming to think a suitable definition for this article would be to define technology as "an accumulating stock of resources known to be capable of achieving specific ends." Who can top that for breadth and brevity?TBR-qed (talk) 23:07, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
So you're saying the water in a water barrel is a technology?GliderMaven (talk) 23:57, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
While very brief, this doesn't seem to me to be precise, it's far too broad.GliderMaven (talk) 00:02, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I would say that knowing the uses for which the water is fit would be technology, involving knowing how it got there and what its condition is. The simple existence of water--or anything--does not make it a resource.TBR-qed (talk) 20:59, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
There are no "natural resources." Usefulness depends entirely on community understanding.TBR-qed (talk) 14:53, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I hope my post today will renew the discussion.TBR-qed (talk) 19:02, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Parallel ledes and definitions for science and technology?[edit]

Given the current interdependence of science and technology, would it be useful to provide those two articles with parallel intros--either separately or both words for both articles? This could clarify issues such as applied and pure science and the role of engineering. Here are my suggestions: SCIENCE currently means either systematic inquiry to discover general principles in special-case observations, or the stock of principles discovered by that inquiry. The word comes from the Latin word scientia, which meant “knowledge”[2 in the traditional interpretation of absolutely certain truth. TECHNOLOGY currently means either systematic inquiry to discover special-case applications of scientific principles, or the stock of applications discovered by that inquiry. The word comes from the Greek τέχνη, techne, which identified the "art, skill, cunning of hand” of the handicraft workman.TBR-qed (talk) 18:59, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Remove or rewrite history of technology section[edit]

There are other, more complete Wikipedia articles on the history of technology, so links here should be sufficient. If a history is needed it should be general overviews of periods. It should also be reverse chronological order. The first thing we see shouldn't be stone tools.Phmoreno (talk) 03:26, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

"It should also be reverse chronological order."
Without opining on the rest of your comment, I disagree with this bit. History sections are generally in chronological order. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:14, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 10 March 2015[edit]

It's missing one brace here: " -logia[1] is ". It should be " -logia[1]) is " I think. Thanks :) HacDias (talk) 18:29, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Sunrise (talk) 18:50, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Prpopsed merger[edit]

I propose merging Productivity improving technologies (historical) with this article. That article actually discusses most of the important fields of technology.Phmoreno (talk) 14:01, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

That would massively expand the article, beyond that which we could reasonably expect readers to read in a single sitting, with a highly selective list. Surely the most important technologies are those which sustain life and improve the quality of life, not those which improve productivity? NebY (talk) 15:55, 10 May 2015 (UTC)