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A New Definition of Technology – The Scientific Texts That Guide Human Activity
Advances in technology will send humans to Mars in the near future. Internet of things, 5G, artificial intelligence, automated driving, and so on and so on, probably no one is able to list all the new technologies that are emerging. The complexity of the technological world is amazing, but also strange and difficult to understand. However, researchers, engineers and technicians simply need to focus on their part of the job. Complex robots consist of smaller functional units that are manageable by relevant professionals. They are guided by scientific texts and in mind. Despite the complexity of the technologies, they will ultimately be traced back to simple origins in scientific texts.
Wikipedia defines technology as “Technology is the sum of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the achievement of objectives, such as scientific investigation.” In bing.com research, technology is defined as “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.” The definitions are broad, apparently encompassing all useful ways for people to achieve something. Indeed, technology is itself a broad term with many valid definitions. Both definitions are correct in that they describe the facts. But they do not explain the meaning of terms such as “technique,” “application,” and “scientific knowledge,” which are vague terms and may encompass all things in the universe.
Since we defined science in terms of texts in the paper “a new definition of science – the textual foundation that represents the real world”, technology must also be defined in terms of texts because of its scientific nature. Science and technology are closely related and inseparable in the modern world.
1. Scientific texts – the essence of technology
We consider texts as the core of science, which should also be at the core of technology because of the same nature of science and technology. Now we are not repeating the textual nature of science/technology, interested readers can refer to our article “language – the essence of science”.
Science is able to represent everything, including human behavior. Not only natural phenomena are represented and collected, but also human activities. Procedures, methods, details of achievement are recorded in texts, which are then set as representations. With textual representations, human activities are organized, classified, and built upon existing known technologies.
Technology is usually viewed from the perspective of its impact on society, such as relations with culture, practical use, relations with the economy, politics, etc. These are more of its manifestations than its essence. They are non-textual in nature or focused on non-texts. Attributing the characteristics of technology to different aspects of societies not only complicates the issue, leading to endless interactions, but also diverts people’s intentions from the true nature of technology.
Faced with the complexity, variations of ubiquitous and ever-changing technologies, we must think deeply about the common characteristics for all technologies that texts possess. Represented by texts, technology takes on its essential features common to all technologies.
Methods, skills, materials, procedures, principles, and so on, should all be documented for purposes of understanding, learning, communication, and recording. User manuals, technical specifications are usually the first things needed by customers and engineers, either during product delivery or during product development stages. Technical documents even describe a product more precisely than the actual operations of the product. Despite complex operations, deviations in operating conditions and by different individuals, abundant materials, changing personnel, the documents are relatively stable, simple, accurate, reliable and explanatory.
Again, it should be emphasized that scientific texts take effect in the mind. Technical papers should bear in mind and not be equated with technological texts in mind.
2. Differences between science and technology
It is necessary to find the differences between science and technology. Although they have essential cores, their views and emphases are different to account for different aspects of the human world.
Science and technology have similar branches and knowledge. The main difference between science and technology is their purpose and objective. The purpose of science is to observe and explain, while technology aims to take action and make changes. Their direction is opposite to each other. Science is more observation, while technology emphasizes action. The same texts can be considered science or technology depending on the objective and use. For example, the law of motion is itself a science, but it becomes technology when it is used to make and operate machinery.
Technology is closely related to the man-made world. Human activities have changed the way the world looks and the way people live. These are a direct result of technologies, although it can also be said that humans applied science to achieve all of these. Intuitively, science is a deeper and more basic level of knowledge, while technology is more related to direct applications. Science tends to be basic while technology tends to be detailed. But texts play an equally central role in their formations.
Nowadays, information spreads instantly; products are shipped quickly. People increasingly lived in environments surrounded by machine-made products and constructions. It has become easier for people to achieve their goals using existing knowledge and tools. On the other hand, many curiosities can be answered by entering questions into search engines, in seconds. It seems that everyone has enough knowledge. All it takes is action. As a result, more people became action oriented, the term “technology” is becoming more popular than the term “science”.
3. Text-based technology definition
Regarding the essential nature and differences between science and technology, we now offer a new definition of technology as:
Scientific texts that guide human activity.
This definition contains two points:
First, technology is science texts.
Second, these texts are used as guides.
Our definition does not attempt to invalidate current definitions. Instead, we look from a different angle, focusing on a deeper level, settling on the text-centric world model.
Usability of technology
Usually, human activities are goal-oriented. Therefore, the technology usually has practical applications. But the scope of application varies depending on the specific technologies. Also, a technology useful in one case or for some people may not be useful in another case or for other people. Activities can be beneficial or harmful to society.
Possible expansion of the definition
Animals and machines may use technologies in the future and possibly currently, such as AI. In those cases, scientific texts exert their effect not directly through human activities, but through animals or machines. Their use of technology mimics human intelligence, with no essential differences. The definition can be extended to all human and non-human activities that are guided by scientific texts.
Unification of non-textual technology with textual technology
Humans can argue illiterate societies and even animals possess some form of technology, though not as advanced as modern forms. Without going into deep confusion with infinity, some are unclear, examples, we focus on the principles. Sequentiality, clarity and representation of reality are the three defining features of science. Modern technology in the true sense also possesses these features. Basically, technologies in illiterate societies also came from sequential minds with primitive scientific properties, which manipulate non-texts instead of texts, in a less efficient/effective manner. Scientific texts indeed demonstrate those properties, facilitate visual processing, and advance the capabilities of human minds.
4. A text-centered model of science and technology
We can now propose a text-centered model of science and technology that starts from investigative observations, which produce scientific/technological texts, which in turn lead to action through appropriate application. That is, science and technology are both integrated into the texts. If the goal is in the non-text-to-text direction, focusing on derived theories, these texts are more about science. If the goal is to steer text into non-text, focusing on actions, these texts are more about technology. Actions change the environment, which becomes a new subject of observation, leading to the derivation of new scientific/technological texts. In this way, scientific and technological activities form endless repetitions, surrounding texts in the center.
With this new definition, the nature of technology becomes known. The relationship between science and technology is defined and integrated into the texts. The complexity of understanding technology is reduced. A new basis is provided for the future discussion of our technological world.
By defining technology in textual understanding, the scientific strengths of different writing systems will also determine their technological strengths.
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