When generalizing about computers, the internet, software, smart phones and other gadgets, is it best to use just "technology" or be more specific with "information technology"? Humans have been developing and using technology for thousands of years, and its applications are quite diverse, including medical technology, military technology and so forth. There is so much popular interest in computers that "technology" or "tech" often is currently used as a shorthand for that one aspect. Shorter is usually better, but I wonder if is an oversimplification.

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    As you point out, not all technology is about processing information.As a further point, not all technology on the internet is based on information processing either. – Ariel May 21 '12 at 21:14

If in context it is clear that you are talking about computer technology, then it isn't necessary to re-state that, and indeed constantly repeating "computer" or "information" could get tedious. But if it's not clear from the context, then you should specify.


"Computer technology is progressing much more rapidly than transportation technology." Clearly you need to specify "computer" and "transportation" or the sentence would end up, "Technology is progressing much more rapidly than technology", which makes no sense at all.

"Technology is bringing humans closer together." Unless you earlier specified that you were talking about computer technology, this sentence could easily be referring to television, airplanes, or many other forms of technology.

"Technology enables us to process information much more rapidly today than we could in the past." I think the reader would assume from the context of processing information that you meant computer technology. If you meant something else, you should specify.


We do seem to be witnessing a kind of synecdochic narrowing of the meaning of the term technology, to merely and specifically digital electronic technology, though not all of that is just about information—consider the 3D “printer,” for instance. Such synecdochic narrowing of the meanings of words is not at all a new phenomenon: Plato notes (at Symposium 205) that the meaning of the term “poetry” narrowed from any kind of making to just the making of verbal verses and fictions; and another Greek-derived term, “music,” originally any art inspired by any of the Muses, came to mean just the arts of melody and harmony.

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