What is a “Technology”?
Posted by Nicole Tedesco on May 23, 2011
To Wikipedia, a decent definition of “technology” has been posted,
Yes, the concept of “technology” is as general as that. With patents in mind, can a “technology” be a pure product of the mind? As an example, is an epistemological framework a technology? What is a “tool”?
Regardless of the assumption or rejection of metaphysical dualism, is the mind itself not a tool? Is the mind not a collection of matter and states which can be manipulated by human agency to achieve a goal of that agency? If self-reference is where we draw the line at “abstract idea” versus technology, where does self-reference end and the “world” begin? Are arms and legs tools, or merely “self”?
If I could take a pill which would transform one of my eyes into a Steve Austin, bionic “super eye”, is that eye merely “me” or is it a technology? If I were to integrate nano-scale technology into my physiology, does that nano-scale technology cease to be a technology and become “me”? What if the DNA of a future child were to be manipulated so that, once that child was born, their body would be impregnated with a technology produced by the programming of that child’s DNA? Would the programming itself be a considered a technology?
I reject metaphysical dualism. The biological “brain”, the epistemological mind and the non-nervous aspects of the human body are one. No separation exists. I am tempted to say that any goal-suiting change we might make to any state of matter, even the memories of our minds actively created, are technologies. This line of reasoning points the way to a future state of absurdity with regard to United States patent law. Either, one day, the prohibition against patenting “abstract ideas” will be lifted, or the entire patent regime will crumble. I am not sure which.