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21 October 2020

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The late Dr. Rias van Wyk, my professor and friend, would have another take. He suggests there actually exists an emerging academic discipline of Technology capital T. Consider we have the field of chemistry with a fundamental framework the periodic table. Freshmen in college take Macro Economics also with fundamental frameworks of thought around which that academic discipline is organized. Yet noone take "Macro Technology" courses in college because Technology is not viewed as an academic field of study. Technologies always come to us as "tree", never as "forest".

He provided formal definitions that may more comprehensively account for what you describe. Technology is defined as "Created competence as seen in device, process and acquired human skill." This is more akin to the "software" definition of macro economics, not the "hardware" framework of chemistry. Corollary: a technological entity must have Device, process and acquired human skill. Finally his "periodic table" equivalent would categorize every technological entity by function in a nine cell grid of Matter, Energy, information on one axis, and Processing, Storing, Transporting on the other axis.

With a fundamental framework for all technology wisdom materializes where insight was previously lacking, just as a high school student can apprehend difficult ideas in chemistry because of God's elegant framework in nature. Without a fundamental framework only brilliant people can innovate and discover. With a framework insight is more available.

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  • James Hasik is a senior fellow at the Center for Government Contracting in the School of Business at George Mason University, and a senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. Since September 2001, he has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them.

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