Predicting the rapidly progress of latest technology devices or innovations is a challenging scientific task but MIT is developing a new research method by comparing different approaches in a quantitative way:
Researchers at MIT and the Santa Fe Institute have found that some widely used formulas for predicting how rapidly technology will advance — notably, Moore’s Law and Wright’s Law — offer superior approximations of the pace of technological progress. The new research is the first to directly compare the different approaches in a quantitative way, using an extensive database of past performance from many different industries. Some of the results were surprising, says Jessika Trancik, an assistant professor of engineering systems at MIT. The findings could help industries to assess where to focus their research efforts, investors to pick high-growth sectors, and regulators to more accurately predict the economic impacts of policy changes. The report is published in the online open-access journal PLOS ONE. Its other authors are Bela Nagy of the Santa Fe Institute, J. Doyne Farmer of the University of Oxford and the Santa Fe Institute, and Quan Bui of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M.
But technology is not something new and its meaning has changed multiple times since 1823:
The use of the term technology has changed significantly over the last 200 years. Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in English, and usually referred to the description or study of the useful arts.The term was often connected to technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861). ”Technology” rose to prominence in the 20th century in connection with the Second Industrial Revolution. The meanings of technology changed in the early 20th century when American social scientists, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated ideas from the German concept of Technik into “technology.” In German and other European languages, a distinction exists between Technik and Technologie that is absent in English, as both terms are usually translated as “technology.” By the 1930s, “technology” referred not to the study of the industrial arts, but to the industrial arts themselves. In 1937, the American sociologist Read Bain wrote that “technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them.” Bain’s definition remains common among scholars today, especially social scientists. But equally prominent is the definition of technology as applied science, especially among scientists and engineers, although most social scientists who study technology reject this definition. More recently, scholars have borrowed from European philosophers of “technique” to extend the meaning of technology to various forms of instrumental reason, as in Foucault’s work on technologies of the self (“techniques de soi”). Dictionaries and scholars have offered a variety of definitions.
More importantly, today we can talk about the meaning of the “moment-technology” which is accessible to everyone:
On November 16, The New York Times published an essay by its music critic Anthony Tommasini reflecting on several of his favorite moments in classical and operatic repertoire. “I’m not talking about big climactic blasts or soaring melodies,” he writes, “but about some fleeting passage, an unexpected twist in a melodic line, a series of pungent chords, a short theme that reappears briefly in a new musical guise. Often these moments are subtle and quiet, almost stealthy.” He describes such moments as magical, fleeting, transcendent. Be it listening to a piece of music, sitting in a theater, watching a dance, or gazing at a piece of art, lovers of every art form surely know the sensation of which he writes—those split seconds where time seems to stand still and we are immersed in a realm beyond ourselves. As part of the project, Tommasini asked readers to share their own experiences of musical treasure. Overwhelmed by the response (to date, the query has received 875 replies and counting), what followed is a nine-part video and blog series in which Tommasini takes off the hat of critic and dons the role of teacher. Each video dissects one particular musical moment. Seated at his piano, Tommasini plays through the passage in question, simultaneously discussing its musical narrative and highlighting the particular nuances that cause it to grab the listener just so.
Finally, technology is to be the 70% of our everyday life in the near future…
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