Defining technology

Lee Sean’s course, Using Human and Social Technologies, left me after class ended continuing to ask the question we started with: what is technology? If technology is applied knowledge for practical purpose –organization, lists, tools, process, communication — then what is art? Art is expression of one’s interpretation of a subject. Now what is design? Problem solving, with applied knowledge, and creative process…so is design practical art?

McLuhan said media are extensions of humans. We shape tools; tools shape us. What draws the line between nature and technology? Does technology inherently exploit nature? Or is it contextual? Is technology time-based, meaning is it dependent on the moment of culture, need, natural process? What’s the difference or relationship between natural processes (ie, photosynthesis) and technological systems (ie, photovoltaics)?


After learning about Lee Sean’s work at UX for Good in Nola, a 3-day event hosted by Insight Labs, I started to think about user experience (UX) design. What is this compelling field about? Teaching seems like an example of UX design because the instructor is designing the students’ experience (and vice versa, to a large extent, especially in developing collaborative teaching methods like the flipped classroom). What about community organizing? Parenting? Seems like almost any open-minded, cooperative, collaborative, and creative leadership can fall into the category of UX design.


More on Lee Sean

More on McLuhan

Code by Laurence Lessig


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