The essence of technology

Do we understand technology? Do we know why we created it? Do we know how it contributes to economics? How do we work with technology? We may have started to take technology for granted. We even have different perceptions about technology. What are the basics behind understanding technology? Do we have frameworks to describe it in such a way that it makes our workplace and our lives more efficient? To go to Mars, we need a fundamental understanding of physics. Do we have a fundamental understanding of technology that our livelihoods and economics are built on? We have to look at technology governance duties for modern day decision making, how technology can be described by elementary frameworks, how techno-economics has changed the rhythm of long waves of change, how our C-suite executives can be assisted by a deep fundamental understanding of technology as the driving asset in their enterprises, and how we can learn from eco-systems mother nature has given us to guide us in knowledge.

These were the subjects that were discussed in one of our Around the fire… sessions on 23 July 2020. As background two guest blogs were used for setting the scene. They can be found at:

Lessons from Mother Nature towards sustenance of our techno-economicecosystem

Technology governance duties for the 21st century decision-maker

The main findings are listed:

Understanding technology

  • Technology is created capability, the purpose of which is to augment human skill 
  • It leads to outcomes, both tangible and intangible
  • Several ‘trinities’ that technology became part of exist: human-technology-soul; matter-energy-information; human-technology-process; technology-behaviour-events; material-life-mind
  • A unified understanding of technology and a common language to describe it is essential to technology incorporation in life and business
  • Technology is generational not only in its acceptance and use, but also in its role in artificial naturality
  • We have to ask what technology wants from us and not only what we want from technology, it is part of improving our technological literacy
  • We owe it to ourselves to have conversations about technology and our interconnectedness being made possible by it

The power of technology

  • Techno-economics has created new marketplaces that respond differently to the environment
  • Technology is humanified to the extent that it will get personhood
  • A balance is needed to prevent technology from destroying nature in enabling humans too far and creating an artificiality out of sync with natural sequences
  • Corrections of human and technology balance are sometimes huge and cause destructive behaviour and events
  • Technology needs guarding, such as ethics, not to develop in an independent force
  • Technology causes creative destruction, that may include whole economies or even nations

Technology as a catalyst

  • Technology as a solution must be in context of where humans find themselves in history and time and in geographical space, with the ability to close divides
  • Technology can assist in finding the optimum balance and to find simplicity on the other side of complexity
  • Technology inherently provides amplification as a force multiplier; guard against the strengthening of imbalances
  • Technology may assist humans to revert to basics

Technology and humans

  • Technology is a binding force that keeps the web of human relationships together
  • Technology is increasingly trusted more than human feeling, logic and sense
  • Human emotions vary from being scared of technology to embracing it
  • Technology often takes up added time created by other technology
  • Human ability to change supplements technological ability to enable
  • Technology mimics humans that create it; at the same time technology creates behaviour that make humans equal
  • Humans change in biological time; technology changes in mechanical time
  • To best co-exist with technology, the human mind needs quiet times
  • Technology changes behaviour; humans have to make the right choices
  • Technology must be applied responsibly to prevent exploitation of some humans 
  • Technology is a tool towards holism for the human race and 

This shows that even though we work with technology every day, and we think we understand it, there are many aspects of technology that we still have to come to terms with and that technology cannot be taken for granted. The essence of technology cuts very deep in our lives…

Acknowledgement for the ideas from the following “Around the fire…” participants:

Chris Heunis, Robbie Verkuyl, Thereza Botha, Ben Steyn, Francois Theron, Andrew Dugmore, Ken Smith, Annemie Du Plessis, Francois Nel, Justy Range, and Lance Lawson. 

A special word of thanks to Ferdie Lochner who wrote the guest blogs to set off this discussion and for introducing the topic and guiding the discussion.

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