Friday, May 6, 2011

The critical distinction between tools and technology:

People use tools.

Technology uses people.


  1. Can you please elaborate?

  2. Technology dictates which goals are to be pursued and how, whereas tools facilitate the pursuit of your own goals. I have more to say about the distinction here:

    But Lewis Mumford said it much better than I can. From his book Technics and Civilization: “The tools and utensils used during the greater part of man’s history were, in the main, extensions of his own organism: they did not have—what is more important they did not seem to have—an independent existence. But though they were an intimate part of the worker, they reacted upon his capacities, sharpening his eye, refining his skill, teaching him to respect the nature of the material with which he was dealing. The tool brought man into closer harmony with his environment, not merely because it enabled him to re-shape it, but because it made him recognize the limits of his capacities. In dream, he was all powerful: in reality he had to recognize the weight of stone and cut stones no bigger than he could transport. […] Because of their independent source of power, and their semiautomatic operation even in their cruder forms, machines have seemed to have a reality and an independent existence apart from the user.”

  3. Thanks. So the main distinctions are transparency in how the "tool" was assembled and the intention or goal of the "tool"?

  4. ...Or maybe that technology is more specialized than a tool. So in a sense, even though I am using technology (computer & Internet) to communicate, it could also be considered a tool since I am using it to spread information in an attempt to dismantle civilization.