The Cultural Approach to Technology and Art

In general, Technology is the combination of any new techniques, skills, processes, and practices utilized in the development of new products or services or in the achievement of previously established goals, including scientific research. Technology is also the application of knowledge in new fields to improve on existing methods. It is often used to refer to a field in which advances in technology have contributed largely to knowledge. In business, technology is often used to refer to a set of processes, materials, and practices that are used to develop a product or process.

In business, however, there is considerable debate as to what science is actually; and what the term science really refers to. Advocates of scientific knowledge (e.g., those who support creationism) tend to define it as “the systematic observation and study of natural phenomena.” Opponents argue that this definition makes things like religion and magic invalid because they cannot be observed or measured by science. The debate has been ongoing for over half a century. In recent years, more proponents of scientific knowledge have been making the case that technology, when used well, can do more than create new knowledge but can also facilitate the comprehension of previously existing scientific knowledge.

Science is one of the most important fields of study in the world. In many ways, it is even more important than engineering in a technologically advanced world. With the Internet, computers, cell phones, television, and other things like watches, not only do people in developing countries receive and transmit accurate and up-to-date information about things like temperature and barometric pressure, but they can also share it with people in industrialized nations who have access to television, computer networks, and other forms of technological information. These distributed and often instant information sources can play a significant role in how science is defined, especially in the field of applied sciences.

Applied Schachtmitt’s theory of relativity may not seem to directly apply to technology in the twenty-first century, but in his concept of relativity Schatzberg sees technology as having an effect on reality independent of matter. According to Schatzberg, reality is neither ‘solid’ nor ‘liquid,’ but ‘a complex collection of diverse systems.’ Schatzberg further defines technology as ‘the arrangement of things in such a way that they can be used and altered according to need and interest.’ This idea of technology as an emergent order, independent of matter, is a fundamental part of the later thinkers associated with quantum physics, Albert Einstein and Max Planck.

The debate between science and technology is an enduring one. Early in the Twentieth Century, Albert Einstein described the technology as ‘absundant energy.’ Similarly, twentieth century thinker Max Planck argued that ‘technology’ refers to ‘the science which attempts to harness the energy perfected by science.’ But how do these phrases differ from one another? How do they relate to the study of art, literature, technology, and applied sciences?

According to David B. Zicherman and Lawrence J. Hermann, “one of the most important debates in modern times was whether technological artifacts, ideas, or products have any real worth apart from utility and profit.” While this is a broad definition, the key features of this broad approach are that technological artifacts have both utility and profit as their motivating purposes, and that technological ideas and artifacts have significant social and cultural meaning apart from their utility and profit. Thus, according to Zicherman and Hermann, in addition to a material means of communication and an idea language, an artistic medium also provides a rich cultural and intellectual vocabulary to articulate subject matters of human life. In fact, as we shall see, the analysis of cultural approach in this paper also lends a materialist definition to the definition of technology, while also suggesting some ways in which it may diverge from the traditional definitions.