The John Potts and Andrew Murphy reading consider the terms ‘technology, culture and technique’ and how they intertwine in our society.
In thinking about what technology is:
- Long history and changing meanings of the word
- It developed with terms like the ‘Industrial Revolution’ to describe the radical restructuring of Western societies as a result of industrial processes.
- During the 1860s, technology meant the system of mechanical and industrial arts
- Technology has now come to describe the overall system of machines and processes
- Contemporary meaning of technology is ABSTRACT. Can be said “we now live in technology surrounded by technological systems and dependent on them”
- Technology in the contemporary world involves cultural values, ideologies, ethical concerns and is shaped by political and economic determinants
The reading then went on to discuss what a technique is:
- Put simply it is “the use of skill to accomplish something”.
- We need techniques to use technologies
- If we lost technique we would lose operational skills and the thinking to produce technologies
Finally, what is culture?
- Very difficult to define
- Can be about self-contained cultures
- Can also embrace all human activity around the world
- Can pertain to the arts or entertainment
- Potts and Murphy think of culture as DYNAMIC and MULTIPLE
- It is dynamic because ideas and values change
- It is multiple because it contains the activities of different classes, races and ages.
- In the words of Brian Eno: “Culture is everything we do not have to do”.