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June 1, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 2:33pm

Definition of technology

Technology is disrupting the world today, just as it has done for the last 2.5 million years, but how has the definition evolved over the centuries?


From Greek ‘tekhne’ and ‘logia’, technology has in a way or another been with humans since the Paleolithic period when stones were turned into tools.

During the caveman age, though the word was not there, stone tools, fire, animal leather, wheels, and other would be recognised as groundbreaking technologies and significant technological advancements.

Fast-forwarding more than 2.5 million years to today, technology has certainly evolved past such tools.

CBR lists five ways the definition of technology has changed over history.



Pre-17th Century

The closest form to the word technology was ‘tekhnologia’ and it appeared around 1605-15, meaning systematic treatment. The word was created through ‘inkhorn’ which basically refers to the methodology of borrowing foreign words (in this case the Greek words ‘tekhne’ and ‘logia’) to form an English word for something that has no given word until that date.

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During the Renaissance period, in 1627, English philosopher Francis Bacon wrote for the first time about a ‘state’ where the King would be advised by scientists and engineers.

At that time, scientists were already capable of predicting the weather, and refrigeration had also been invented. Bacon’s idea was the first time in history where "technology" came together with state affairs, yet he did not use the word himself. His vision was used to found the Royal Society in London in 1662.


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