Have you ever noticed that when people talk about technology today, it almost always refers to shiny new gadgets.
The following chart, by Nicholas Carr (author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains), reminds us that technically, everything which extends human ability is technology.
If you are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is obvious that Carr has modeled The Hierarchy of Innovation after Maslow’s pyramid. In Maslow’s chart, humans must have certain needs like breathing and eating fulfilled before they worry about higher things like religion. In the same way, certain technologies are more necessary than others, but we just don’t talk about them when we aren’t seeing constant innovation at the lower levels. Perhaps we will talk more about the technologies of clothing and hunting when 3d printing starts meeting these needs.