WHat is 'technology?'
It is tempting to take David Nye’s assertion that technology is all tools and the techniques to use them as a good definition of technology. However, Nye recognizes that the term technology is relatively new to the English language not really coming into common use until the late 1800s.
While the English language loves its words and loves to invent words, the words that the English language accepts are words that are required to define something that wasn’t defined before. “Technology” falls into this category. As Nye rallies against the term's current nebulousness, he is missing the point of English or any language. Language is a living organism that changes to fit the needs of the people speaking it.
So “technology” must be something new. It must be a term that the industrial revolution and its following eras has found useful to describe new things. The term is tied up in electronics, computers and things that are advancing. It is possible to think of a hammer in terms of technology, but most people would look at the hammer as a tool and not let it slip into a technology category.
The only places that technology has a gender are in languages where gender is assigned to words based on a loose set of criteria and/or arbitrarily, like German, and in the mind of those who like to think small. “Technology” in English has no more gender connotation than “runner,” “mathematician” or “scientist.” If most of what has been called or categorized as technology has been invented by men, it is only because women have had less access to the opportunities to create in the realm of technology.
Nye’s argument that technology has acquired a masculine bias rings as hollow as a rotting tree stump. It is afforded more than the amount of space that it deserves – roughly one page and sounds like it is coming from someone trying to curry the favor of radical feminists rather than someone who gave any thought to the idea.
Nye says the word has been defined as masculine but fails to cite where that definition is to be found.
Thoughts on Ch.1 of "Technology Matters" by David Nye.
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