While we use the word “technology” frequently in our daily life, actually defining it presents an unexpected challenge. In todays world, things like iPhones, televisions, and xboxes are common associations made with technology. Not many people would argue that those aforementioned devices are fair associations, but as we revisit older and older inventions, things that were once considered technologies are now considered tools. When this transition occurs is difficult to pin point, and drawing a distinct line that separates tool from technology may be an impossible task.

David Nye’s “As We Define Technology”, explains how using tools separates primate species from other animals. He uses an example of a chimpanzee that peeled off the bark from a stick, jabbed it into a termite hole, and ate the termites off of the stick. This process to more effectively get at it’s prey. Nye explains this behavior provides evidence that the chimps have an understanding of their narrative, or in simpler terms have the ability to plan ahead. In this scenario the chimpanzee acts preemptively, by constructing a tool to improve its haul of food, rather than waiting to find prey and rely simply on instinct. This trait of foresight and tool-making can only frequently be observed among humans and apes.

While the ability of primates to create and wield tools separates us from other species, I do not believe standard tools should be considered technology. The “spear” that the chimpanzee wields in Nye’s example do not align how people in our society use the word technology. Instead of household tools such as hammers, spears and saws being commonly associations with technology modern innovations like social media, 3d printers and jets are much more relevant connections. In comparison, the former group of items seems barbaric compared to the latter group. There needs to be a distinction between outdated inventions and modern technology in order to accurately depict the word.

Instead of providing my own definition of technology, I have only explained why others may be faulty. At this point one might want to ask me where I think should the line be drawn? What makes something technology and what makes something a tool?

Unfortunately, at this point in my academic understanding, I cannot come up with a set of principles that define technology. Instead, I have only chosen which interpretations I do not agree with. While I am unable to provide a solution to the problem of an uncertain definition, I believe I am on a path to better understanding an unexpectedly complex word. As this class progresses I plan to mold, my understanding of technology as I amass more knowledge on the topic.