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The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves Paperback – January 11, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
What is technology in its nature, in its deepest essence? Where does it come from? How does it evolve? With contagious enthusiasm, Arthur, an economics professor and a pioneer of complexity theory, tries to answer these and other questions in a style that is by turns sparkling and flat. Technology is self-creating, though it requires human agency to build it up and reproduce it. Yet technology evolves much like organisms evolve, and Arthur cannily applies Darwin's ideas to technologies and their growth. All technologies descend from earlier ones, and those that perform better and more efficiently than others are selected for future growth and development. But radical novelty in technology cannot be explained by this model of variation and selection, so Arthur argues that novel technologies arise by combination of existing technologies. For example, a hydroelectric power generator combines several main components—a reservoir to store water, an intake system, turbines driven by high-energy water flow, transformers to convert the power output to a higher voltage: groups of self-contained technologies—into a new technology. Arthur's arguments will likely alter the reader's way of thinking about technology and its relationship to humanity. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“…enlightening and stimulating, enhanced by a remarkable diversity of historical examples…The book invites comparison to work by Thomas Kuhn…Economists, social scientists, engineers and scientists all may come to regard it as a landmark.” —Science
“Provocative and engaging...Arthur’s theory captures many well-known features of technological change [and] also answers interesting questions.”—Nature
“…reframes the relationship between science and technology as part of an effort to come up with a comprehensive theory of innovation… Dr. Arthur is bold in his reassessment of the role of technology in science.” —The New York Times
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develops or evolves. For example: (1) Technology uses phenomena, i.e.Read more