"More than any thing else technology creates our world. It creates our wealth, our economy, our very way of being," says W. Brian Arthur. Yet until now, the major questions of technology have gone unanswered. Where do new technologies come from -- how exactly does invention work? What constitutes innovation, and how is it achieved? Why are certain regions -- Cambridge, England, in the 1920s and Silicon Valley today -- hotbeds of innovation, while others languish? Does technology, like biological life, evolve? How do new industries, and the economy itself, emerge from technologies? In this groundbreaking work, pioneering technology thinker and economist W. Brian Arthur sets forth a boldly original way of thinking about technology that gives answers to these questions.
The Nature of Technology is an elegant and powerful theory of technology's origins and evolution. It achieves for the progress of technology what Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress. Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works.
Conventional thinking ascribes the invention of technologies to "thinking outside the box", or vaguely to genius or creativity, but Arthur shows that such explanations are inadequate. Rather, technologies are put together from pieces - themselves technologies - that already exist. Technologies therefore share common ancestries and combine, morph, and combine again to create further technologies. Technology evolves much as a coral reef builds itself from activities of small organisms -- it creates itself from itself; all technologies are descended from earlier technologies.
Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, and writing in wonderfully engaging and clear prose, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives.
More for the geek than the water cooler crowd.
Finally, a technical book thats not an extensive bio on people! Its not I don't like people, it's that I am tired of supposed technically oriented books that are simply collections of long, boring, exhaustive bios about the parents, friends, spouse, neighbors, cousins, habits, quirks, and childhood of this or that inventor, engineer, owner, with a few weak technical details thrown in. Come on, there are geeks like me out there!!!
This is a great book for those who have an engineers mind and want to immerse into the real meaning of the non biological world of technology. Some history, some philosophy, some evolution, some entertainment, and lots of food for thought for the reader with a computer for a brain, the real engineer at heart. I have yet to finish so I will not go into all the content. The posted description is good enough.
All the previous rant aside, the book is well written and narrated. The author has a very good understanding of the topics and surprised me when a couple of points relating to software where mentioned accurately. Its not a "how to" type book, but more of a "what is". If you like books like "The World Without Us" and "Twinkie Deconstructed" then this might be for you. If you only want to be like somebody famous and need to know things like what Bill Gates ate for breakfast when a 2 year old, then don't bother. This wouldn't be your cup of tea.