What is technology and technology change? A new conception with systemic-purposeful perspective for technology analysis



Abstract. The study suggests a new definition of technology with a systemic-purposeful perspective: Technology here is a complex system of artifact, made and/or used by living systems, that is composed of more than one entity or sub-system and a relationship that holds between each entity and at least one other entity in the system, selected considering practical, technical and economic characteristics, to satisfy needs, achieve goals and/or solve problems of users for the purpose of adaptation and/or survival in environment. Technology is formed and evolves with different minor and major innovations. Several examples illustrate these concepts and a simple model operationalizes the proposed definition with a preliminary statistical evidence. Overall, then, technology changes current modes of cognition and action to enable makers and/or users to take advantage of important opportunities or to cope with consequential environmental threats.

Keywords. Conception of technology, Nature of technology, Origin of technology, Evolution of technology, Diffusion of technology, Systems approach, Artifacts, Purposeful systems, Product modularity, Coevolution, New caledonian crow, Chimpanzee, Technical change.

JEL. O30, O32, O33, B50.


Conception of technology; Nature of technology; Origin of technology; Evolution of technology; Diffusion of technology; Systems approach; Artifacts; Purposeful systems; Product modularity; Coevolution; New caledonian crow; Chimpanzee; Technical change.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1453/jsas.v6i3.1957


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