Technology is the study of the scientific, technological, economic, social, and other relationships associated with an object or process. The study of technology involves an application of ideas, concepts, and learning to a wide range of different fields. In a very broad sense, technology is the combination of knowledge and information about how to make something (something being any material object) that can be used to produce the object or process at a later time. Technology is also the study of how these objects or processes are developed, what their properties are, how to measure them, how to manipulate them, how to communicate them, etc. The scope and depth of technology are rapidly expanding as new technologies are developed.
One of the most influential forces in the world today is computer technology. Computers have revolutionized many aspects of our lives, including how we do business, what we do for recreation, education, government, and much more. Although computer technology has provided a path for many people to get ahead in life, there are also many who criticize its impact on the world. The creation of computers and other technological objects requires energy, which in turn requires oxygen. The oxygen required by the human body must be replaced every so often.
Cultural anthropology provides an important insight into the changing needs of modern man and his relation to the technological environment. Schatzberg recognizes that technological objects and ways of doing things can have both positive and negative effects upon people. The object or way of doing something can either serve as a stepping-stone to greater achievements or it can deplete the supply of certain vital natural resources.
According to Schatzberg, culture and language are two basic categories of analysis. Culture, he argues, includes all the significant traditions and values that have been developed throughout history. Language, according to Schatzberg, is a system of symbols and social practices used to communicate information. Both these categories, according to Schatzberg, are essential to understanding human life. Each of these categories has an independent and specific significance that is different from the other.
The analysis of these two concepts becomes especially important in analyzing the development of technological objects. As a result, the study of culture becomes a more complex issue than was previously the case with respect to the analysis of the industrial arts. Industrial arts, according to Schatzberg, can be studied from two perspectives: as a technical activity, or as an art. Historically, the industrial revolution transformed all areas of life, including the arts, thus making it more difficult for scholars to isolate and appropriate the term.
On the other hand, Schatzberg conceives of the analysis of the arts as having three separate approaches: aesthetics, ethnicity, and affect. He contends that aesthetics is a more important aspect of techne than technical know-how because aesthetic considerations may have greater influence on the behavior of men than on that of machines. He further contends that the representation of the natural world in art can provide a key to the understanding of technological issues because artists can provide a vision of how the world around them is formed and changed by technological change. He believes that aesthetic concerns can help us to appreciate the ways in which the forms of technological objects have become part of everyday life. Furthermore, he suggests that the study of aesthetics can contribute to an understanding of power, thus providing an approach to political science and economy that is both more sophisticated and more in-depth than has been possible so far.