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Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

"Technology is the active human interface with the material world.

But the word is consistently misused to mean only the enormously complex and specialised technologies of the past few decades, supported by massive exploitation both of natural and human resources.

This is not an acceptable use of the word. "Technology" and "hi tech" are not synonymous, and a technology that isn't "hi," isn't necessarily "low" in any meaningful sense.

We have been so desensitized by a hundred and fifty years of ceaselessly expanding technical prowess that we think nothing less complex and showy than a computer or a jet bomber deserves to be called "technology " at all. As if linen were the same thing as flax — as if paper, ink, wheels, knives, clocks, chairs, aspirin pills, were natural objects, born with us like our teeth and fingers -- as if steel saucepans with copper bottoms and fleece vests spun from recycled glass grew on trees, and we just picked them when they were ripe..."

ursulakleguinarchive.com/Note-

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat one random thing I like is that Ursula Franklin also has excellent commentary on similar points

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@platypus @entreprecariat in Always Coming Home (by Le Guin) the people of the valley have a saying, “if you don’t teach machines and horses to do what you want in their way they’ll teach you to do what they want in your way,” which made me think of both this rant and Franklin’s lectures.

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat
The plow and flint knives are also "technology", yes.

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat Well today a Javascript library that renders buttons with a drop shadow is called technology...

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat @eris maybe other kind of tech?

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@eris @entreprecariat some times I find joy using that technologist thing to solve non computer related problems. It may work for you too. Or not.

This is the second fedi thread this week that makes me think of Ali G's science episode:

"He lives in a house though; A house is a product of technology"

The show is from 2003, melodysheep's "Ali G Science Rap" remix is from 2012. Ever relevant.

@maleza @entreprecariat @eris @despens

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat Very nice. She had such clarity.

I've always loved the elegance of Bernard Stiegler's definition too: technology is "organised inorganic matter" ("la matière inorganique organisée"), even if the simplicity makes it inaccurate.

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat I get her point, but I also want a sauce pan tree now.

re: Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat I was discussing the full quote with a friend, and came to a conclusion that shouldn't be surprising: "kindness appears to be the most advanced tech of all".

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat
Have you ever used a well-made Japanese knife? (Or also other well-made ones, but I think the Japanese ones are quite good, so...) A great piece of technology still being developed today with still open questions and challenges. And it replaces a LOT of seemingly higher tech kitchen utensils which in the end are only more complex but not better suited for the task and annoying to use and clean. I prefer chopping veg with a good knife over any kitchen gadget any time.

re: Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@grob @entreprecariat my local user group had a talk on this exact point:
https://lsh.io/plugtalk/#38

The whole thing has bits adjacent to your observations here, although a lot of it needed the context of the audio to make it meaningful on multiple levels.

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat
very interesting thoughts.

but i have learnt a different definition of hard/soft scifi. where hard means it is possible with the currently known physical properties of our universe and so a possible future, and soft means its not strictly following the laws of physics as we know them and is more leaning towards "fantasy".

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

@entreprecariat
It's true. I love technology like the 150 year old spinning wheel I have. So precise, intricate and brilliant. It's a beautiful piece of machinery.

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