Why Tech Matters- Nye article summary

As humans evolve over time, so does technology. A good amount of people would try to argue that technology doesn’t really define the history of man or humankind. In this article by David Nye, he explains why technology is so crucial for the world to move forward and improve.

Nye starts off the article addressing how old technology actually is. People have been using tech since the beginning of time. He mentions all that could be considered as technology outside of physical items, such as upgrades to already invented items, new ideas, or new techniques for activities like farming. As an example, he uses Judith Carey’s Black Rice which is about how people imported plants and slaves who knew how to plant them as a way to farm certain crops.

Link to a summary of Carney’s book: https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/01/04/22/reviews/010422.22faustt.html

Some people are so used to having technology in their life, that they don’t even realize that they are using it. Everyone should remember that something as simple as a pen and paper could be considered as a form of technology.  Nye explains how some people are so used to the technology that they grew up with, that they don’t consider it to be a technology. He uses kids as an example and how something that they grew up with, might have amazed their grandparents at one time such as smart phones.

Every day that technology advances, some old tech can naturally become outdated. Even though something isn’t used often anymore, it still should be remembered because in a way, it could fuel ideas for new tech or ways to improve. For example, the bell was upgraded with with different metals to be able to make more, or old buildings being upgraded to be better equipped for current uses. Another example is people still buy new cars that are fueled by gasoline even though electric cars exist. Instead, some people forget about the tech and eventually the younger generations have no idea about it; for example, a lot of kids don’t know what a VCR is.

In the article, Nye explains how the success of some tech depends on how the consumers view it. He uses the internet as an example, how it was first meant for military communication, and then the world wide web was developed. A lot of people loved it, and a lot of others disliked it because they thought it destroyed jobs or wanted to know who owned it. As another example, Nye explained that when electric cars were developed, a good amount of guys still preferred gasoline cars because of the speed and the price being lower. In a way, a good piece of technology is something that can appeal useful to everyone.

At the end of the article, Nye expresses how technology matters because of how it has shaped people. He is completely right because technology is the reason that the country and world are shaped the way that they are, and as tech proceeds to develop, the world will continue to change.

3 Replies to “Why Tech Matters- Nye article summary”

  1. Chris,

    You provide a great summary of Nye’s article. Thank you for including the link that summarizes Carney’s book as well. Did reading this article change how you view ‘technology?’ If you are interested in more of Nye’s thoughts check out some of his books: Electrifying America, When the Lights Went out. He has a lot of great work on the social meanings of technology.


    1. Emily,

      Yes, before reading this article, I thought of technology as only electronics. I now know that technology can be considered anything man made or even something not man made that is combined for a different than intended use.

  2. Chris,

    I really like your summary of the article. I totally agree that once technology becomes outdated it isn’t really viewed as technology anymore even though it is still technology. A very long time ago people viewed farming as a new technology, but for our generation the technology we think about is smartphones and computers. I think the article does a good job pointing out that we should not be forgetting about old technology. Often times new technology is created from the old technology. I also agree that technology does shape our world and a new form of technology could easily change it.

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