Team 3 Keywords

Technium - the greater, global, massively interconnected system of technology that includes everything from art from the Stone Age to today’s digital technology or smartphone. It extends beyond the newest gadgets to encompass culture, art, social institutions, and intellectual creations. As time passes, the technium grows, thus it exists on a continuum. Through all this change and evolution, it is argued that the technium is maturing into its own thing that is independent and not under our direct control; however, people can bend its natural course to meet our own. It is also contended that the technium is autonomous in that it contains examples of systems that display traits of self-repair, self-defense, self-maintenance, self-control of goals, and self-improvement. All of these characteristics aid in this self-reinforcing system of creation that encompasses anything useful that a mind makes. This includes any mind, not just a human mind because though the human mind is indeed one influence upon the technium, there are many other influences as well. Just as the human mind must obey governing cognition, laws governing life, and self-organization, the technium must also obey the laws of mind, life, and self-organization. Therefore, while it may be becoming independent, it is still influenced by many factors. As with most independent entities, the technium has its own urges or wants, which include sorting itself out, assembling itself into hierarchical levels, and perpetuating itself. The technium is involved in, and is possibly even integrated into, human evolution itself through science, technology, culture, and consciousness.

Exaptation- an exaptation is generally used to describe the evolution of traits in animals. The most common example is the evolution of bird feathers. Feathers were thought to initially regulate body temperature, but later were adapted to allow flight (Kelly 49-50). The concept behind an exaptation is that a trait or characteristic evolves to serve a different purpose. This concept is quietly one of the driving forces of technological advancement. Innovative breakthroughs are often made possible by using old or retired traits in new ways. Through exaptation, a future cure for cancer may be found by examining how computer viruses function. This comparison may seem outlandish, but these types of connections are often what shield exaptation from the critical eye of society. We often get so caught up in innovation that we forget to observe what brought about such development.

Exaptation is also a concept that causes a bit of concern with technological advancement. With the ability to tread uncharted cognitive waters through any past trait, technology will develop regardless of human intent. As long as there are past traits, as there always will be, new advancements will always be possible. Old tools will be used in new ways, old ideas will be rethought, and old cognitive behaviors will be rewired. Such possibility begs the question as to who has control, technology or those using it. This possibility is also the motivational aspect of technology. The possibility of endless advancement will keep the human mind intrigued, engaged, and willing to invest in technology.

Evolvability: This term describes how technium evolves and is very similar to how an organism evolves in nature. As technium becomes more and more advanced, it evolves to fit the greater needs of society. In class, we have always discussed technology as being an extension of ourselves. We invest part of ourselves in the technology that we use at a frequent rate. This allows us to unload information so that we are not solely responsible for remembering it. Additionally, it allows us to live digitally once we are not physically alive. Similarly, Kelly describes technology as being an extension of ourselves as well. Technology houses our ideas and therefore is an extension of our minds.

Technium evolves to become more specific, diverse, efficient, and complex—the same traits that organisms share in regards to evolution. When technium is evolving, it means that our ideas are evolving. They are joining with other ideas to create new, more efficient ones. According to Kelly, technium’s evolvabilty cannot be avoided. Evolvability allows our ideas to become more intricate and feasible. As our technium evolves, so do our minds. They adapt to different environments and build off previous ideas.

The evolution of technium is directly related to the evolution of nature. However, instead of physically observing the differences in an organism (like you would in nature), we can tell the evolution of technium by the way that information is altered. New technology changes the way that information is presented and used. Evolvability is crucial to the progression of learning and ideas.