What Is Technology -Stephen J. Kline

In 1985, Stephen J. Kline wrote a brief article about technology. In it, he defined technology in his own words, and he described how humans interact with it. While reading this article, I found one of his talking points interesting. In the last pages in the article, he talked about sociotechnical systems of use. He defines this as “a system using combinations of hardware, people (and usually other elements) to accomplish tasks that humans cannot perform unaided by such systems – – to extend human capacities”. I think what he means by this is that sociotechnical systems of use are what we as humans use to help us accomplish tasks. In essence, isn’t that what most of us generally consider to be the main purpose of technology? We as a species are always dedicating to improving ourselves. We create things that makes tasks “easier” for us. There are even specific (mostly high paying) jobs dedicated solely to finding ways to better the human race. I think the constant maintaining of this mutual “betterment” of us as a species is essential for us to exist. It appears that Mr. Kline had similar thoughts to me, as he wrote this excerpt later in the article. “Without sociotechnical systems, we humans might not exist as a species, and if we did, we would be relatively powerless, few in number, and of little import on the planet.” I think this sentence shows just how important the ability to engage with technology is to our success as a species.

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