Frankly, I hate how, since the dawn of the computer and internet, when we say “technology” we tend to presume only software, web sites, and smartphones.
“Technology” does not mean semiconductor and code!
The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes
The idea of technology was defined in 1829! Technology (“science of craft”, from , techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and ) was first defined by Jacob Bigelow in 1829 as: “…principles, processes, and nomenclatures of the more conspicuous arts, particularly those which involve applications of science, and which may be considered useful, by promoting the benefit of society, together with the emolument [compensation] of those who pursue them”
So what then even is “high-tech”? Even the definition of that phrase is redundant: “employing, requiring, or involved in high technology.” okay….?
Famed economist Peter Drucker noted long ago that only two things create value in business: innovation and marketing. Thus my perspective, the inventions that are much more tech than people think are the innovations that were widely adopted but aren’t necessarily code and silicon.
So, what are some inventions that are much more tech than people think?
- The Leatherman, multi-tool. I know what you’re thinking, “seriously?! that’s not what I meant.” When I was a kid, getting a pocket knife was a huge deal and that’s all there was. Now every handy adult has a multi-tool – the craftsmanship, the metals, the invention of the tools themselves… that’s all technology
- LED lights. I shouldn’t need to explain
- Synthetic alcohol. The most widely used recreational drug in the world (let’s be honest about what it is), without the hangover. Imagine the trillions of dollars in lost productivity that will be saved
- Broadcast. Here’s one I think best exemplifies my point that people today think of technology as the internet. What’s a high-tech invention that changed the world? First there was the printing press (technology), then the one we easily overlook as we clamor for podcasting and streaming: broadcasting – the radio and television. As you look at the lists of the most impactful innovations ever, you’ll see internet and you might see printing press but you never see the technology that put a voice in every home in the world
- The innovations in petroleum-based products – plastics. I was just playing with my old Transformers, with my son, and noting that then there was really only hard, colored plastic that eventually cracks and breaks. Today we have plastic that looks like metal, stone, and wood; and the number of lives saved because of the use of plastic in healthcare is, I presume, immeasurable.
Here’s a headline on CNBC that just bugs the hell out of me:. Why does it bug me? Check out the article, it goes on to lead with a picture of a scientist in a lab at Gilead Sciences… then it highlights a video about New Brain Surgery Innovation… then it mentioned a hepatitis cure and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
All the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes
Even the questions and answers on Quora pertaining to “non-tech” startups and innovations… (for example:) Invariably, the answers are still always innovative companies (technologies) from customized bubble clouds to biotech to smart clothes to new farming techniques.