Technology is a broad term that refers to the way in which people create and manipulate the environment. It also relates to the systems people use for transport, communications, energy generation, and manufacturing.
It’s impossible to talk about technology without mentioning the context in which it operates. Even the most sophisticated piece of machinery or process requires that human beings programme it, monitor it, take over from it when necessary, and change its purposes as conditions dictate. This is a fundamental aspect of any technology and it’s something that distinguishes it from semi-radical or incremental innovation.
Another important feature of technology is that it tends to recur, creating new opportunities and possibilities within old structures. It’s a different model from the one that sees science as a deterministic force, pushing forward through unchecked invention. Arthur’s model, based on the German concept of Technik, is recursive: Technologies are built from other technologies, which in turn are built from other technologies.
Some of the most important examples of this kind of recursive technology include cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and blockchain, which are based on cryptographic principles. These, in turn, open the door for a wide range of other applications.
Other examples of this type of technology are the various ways in which people are using their smartphones to access a variety of learning materials on their own. This is a highly important development that empowers people to become more self-sufficient learners. Moreover, it allows them to find answers to any queries they may have rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them.