Valery A. Salnikov

Division of technology

The tendencies of development of technological medium


"The only way to influence on technology …
is with another technology."

Stanislaw Lem.


The purpose of the present paper is the analysis of changes of technological medium in the near future.


At present the word "technology" is one of the most frequently used terms in intellectual activity of the mankind. It is possible, if to consider the frequency of people's usage of abstract terms, the "technology" is included in the first hundred (if not in the first ten) alongside with such terms, as "god", "society", "law", "science", "truth", etc.

In ordinary life the person with surprising ease, often bordering with "the impudence of innocence" reasons his actions by means of such abstractions. It is done without full realization of the multiple meaning of this term, its insufficient distinctness, and possible inconsistency. This all causes the mistakes in person's actions which he makes with the same ease. In a context of the given discourse it is possible to assume, that writing the present essay is an error as well.

In their turn the actions of separate people, including their errors, influence as total vector the development of entire civilization. Hence, confusion and garbage in people's minds will result, in the end, in "the piles of garbage " both on roadsides, and on the road of civilization's development. If it were permitted to make jokes in mathematical statistics, we could have written the following expression: Formula.

The formula gives the first approximation of the civilization's development error adding all the errors in each person's actions of the mankind and considering the share of the given person into the destiny of civilization.

However let us leave errors of the people on their conscience and return to term "technology".

So what is technology? How in this concept to generalize a lot of various phenomena existing in the world, for the presentation of which it is used, starting with boiling eggs and finishing with recognition of optical or sound images?

Firstly, technology is a process, i.e. sequence of actions.

Secondly, it is an artificial process, i.e. the process purposefully organized by people.

Thirdly, the purpose of the process is maintenance of human needs.

"To dress, to feed, to give a cover, to move from one place to another, to save from diseases - this is a problem of technology " [1]. And also, we shall add, to satisfy a lot of other needs, including self-gratification and whims.

For example, a person usually does not need directly petroleum or telephone wire, but existence of petroleum and telephone wire technologies allows the usage of their results in other processes, for example in automobile trip to the friends or in a telephone talk to them, and, thereby, it allows the person to realize his need in keeping company with others similar to him.

But, what arises from "artificial process ", i.e. what are the results of technology?

Are the passengers located in the trip final point the result of the process under a title "a trip on the car on the road"? Yes, they are.

Is the noise of the engine the result of the same process? Yes, it is.

And the production of exhaust gases? Yes.

Wear of a road? Yes.

The rundown driver? Yes.

A fine docket? Yes.

Using imagination, it is possible to designate ten or hundred various outcomes of given process. The close attitude to the experience of the mankind suggests, that more than one result, but large (possible infinite) number of outcomes is achieved in each process. And, the plurality of outcomes does not depend on the interest of a person only in one outcome. The laws of the universe determine it. Let us call all the outcomes of technology as "final products". But where are these products come from? What is necessary for their occurrence? It is obvious that the products of technology result from interaction of some other objects. Let us call these objects as "initial products". Thus, the initial products go on input, and there are final products on output of a technological process.

For the mentioned technological process "a trip on the car on the road", the final products result from interaction of initial products, which are in particular the following:

There is the same regularity in the raw of initial products, as for final products: it is a great number of them. And in the stream of initial products there are objects of most various properties, which as a whole can be defined as material bodies, energy and information. The person executing any technology, a priori can not determine exactly the list of all initial and final products.

The introduction and substantiation of a unified measure for diverse objects in input and output streams of technological process, are beyond the bounds of the given paper, however hereinafter exposition there is an implicit supposition that the unified measure basically exists.

The example of some abstract technology consuming three initial products and producing three final products is represented in the figure.

The technological equipment (tank, pipelines), shown in the figure, symbolizes that the streams of initial products participating in technological process, interact with each other and are redistributed in streams of final products.

There can come up a question about the necessity of allocation of a part of objects used in technological process in a separate category with a conditional title "the technological tool" ("the tools of one's trade ","the effector" etc.). In this case structure of technology, for example, of carving sausage to slices somebody can define as follows: sausage is the initial product, knife is the technological tool, slices are final product. But then there is a problem, to what category can we attribute the professional skill of a cook (information), his muscular efforts (energy), distracting talks of the colleagues (negative information, i.e. entropy), auxiliary materials and fittings, etc.?

Apparently, such division is obviously insufficient on the one hand, i.e. does not take into account all circumstances of realization of technology, and redundant on the other hand, since enters needlessly, contrary to "Ockham blade" principle, new essence. The situation will be more logical, when all objects interacting in the given technology, including the used installations, machines with their parameters and operational modes, staff, environment, i.e. everything, that somehow can influence outcomes of technological process, should be referred to one group, which we have determined as "initial products". In this connection, it will be correct to define the structure of the given technology as follows: sausage, knife, plate for carving, cook with necessary physical capabilities and professional skills, garrulous colleagues, light source for lighting the technological zone are initial products, and sausage slices, crumbs, cut fingers and cook screams (more accurately wounded cook) are final products of technology. And the lists of initial products and final products are certainly partial.

The set of all technologies which are operational on the planet, makes technological medium of the existence of mankind. The mineral resources (components of the environment) with the help of the set of coherent technologies are transformed into metals, inorganic and organic substances, energy. Thus together with mineral resources as initial products the processing installations, energy of different kinds, professional information are also used. With the help of agrarian technologies the solar energy (and other initial products together with it) will be transformed into agricultural products, which are used in other industries. The technology of education, which use as initial products the ignorant individuals, professionally efficient instructors, necessary information sources, birches for chastisement of indolent pupils, and other necessary (or harmful) ingredients, gives on the output (as final products) worthy members of society, torn books, friendly links, nervous misanthropes with the pedagogical diplomas etc. Part of graduates will get down to the production of metals, other ones will take up farming etc. Thus, all technologies are mutually bound and dependent. The products of some technologies are initial products for others, products of the latter - for the next technologies etc.

The fragment of technological medium consisting of three connected technologies is presented on the figure.

The figure show that some final products of technologies in given fragment (their streams are marked by red) do not depart to further technological processing and are dispersed in the environment. Some part of final products (the stream shaded by green) is directed for direct satisfaction of human needs.


Definition 1. Technology is an artificial process of accommodation of components of initial products in a structure of final products.

Definition 2. The purpose of all set of technologies is the maintenance of human needs.

Definition 3. Initial products are final products of other technologies or components of the environment.

Definition 4. Components of initial and final products are material objects, energy and information.

Definition 5. The target products are the final products, obtaining of which is the purpose of the given technology.

Corollary 1. The connection of two and more technologies is also a technology, final products of that are the ones of all included technologies not used as initial products in them.

Corollary 2. The process of maintenance of human needs is also a technology.

The theorem 1. The initial products of any technology can not be completely determined in principle.

Corollary 3. The final products of any technology can not be completely determined in principle.

Corollary 4. The realization of non-waste technology is impossible.

Corollary 5. Final products not used as initial products in other technologies (wastes) are placed in the environment.

The theorem 2. Technology changes properties of the environment, if the speed of spacing of wastes in the environment exceeds some critical value.

Definition 6. The technology that changes properties of the environment by placement of wastes in it is ecologically dangerous technology.

Corollary 6. The damage to human needs caused by changes of the environment while using ecologically dangerous technologies can exceed the advantage of their use.


The uncertainty of streams of initial products going on technological processing at all transformation stages in technological environment, starting with mining mineral resources, agrarian raw production, education of children etc., is predetermined by a statistical nature of the ambient world. This is due to the fact that any objects of the environment (solar radiation, atmosphere, surface and subsoil of the Earth, the populations of alive organisms, including Homo sapiens, etc.), feeding technological medium demonstrate, by detail consideration, probabilistic (fluctuation) properties. This fundamental property of uncertainty of technological streams intrinsic to both separate technology, and technological medium as a whole, should be clearly perceived.

Besides, a mental image of any technology (no matter, if it was created purposefully or found by a trial and error method) includes the limited number of objects participating in technological process. Naturally, in each case the particular implementation of technology will be different from its abstract image, and the total result of technology can, in principle, no matter how hardly, differ from expected. This global technological problem was in its amusing form sounded by one of Russian politicians: "Wanted as it is better, and received as it is always ".

Thus, the main criterion of perfection of technology is the predictability of its result. Ceteris paribus, the higher the predictability of the result is, the higher is the perfection of the technology. From this follows, that the base characteristics of perfection of technology are stability and uniformity.

Other parameters of perfection of technology, which declared about themselves in full recently (in a historical sense), are also efficiency and mobility.

The influence of the efficiency and mobility of technologies on evolution of technological medium will be considered below.


The structure of technologies has undergone serious evolution during 18 - 20 centuries.

There were some technical and scientific revolutions, in which new kinds of energy were discovered and widely put into use. The mechanization (and then automation) of material manufacture has created a machine civilization.

Production of energy has grown on some decimal orders, and has been organized in some independent branches.

Production of information (services, entertainment, knowledge) has become one from the most widespread occupations.

Mass media and transport technologies have united the planet into unified information and material space. The level of the development of means of communications and methods of information processing have created necessary premises for the construction of worldwide information system, which allows a person to receive the necessary information practically at the moment of the formulation of an inquiry.

The share of mineral raw in relation to agrarian raw has grown essentially. A classical type of large-scale processing enterprise (like mines, oil pumping outs, metallurgical and chemical integrated activities, automobile plants, and chip productions) appeared. They produce large volume of homogeneous products. The features of large-scale manufacture are the following:

The world transport system has been established. It has connected technologies of transportation by railway, automobile, sea and air lines in the unified conglomerate.

For the last 200 years the base characteristics of perfection of technologies were essentially improved. The uniformity of final products increased. That is connected to the technical revolution and discovery of new principles of organization of technologies (mechanization, continuity, conveyorization). The stability of technologies has increased too. That is connected to the growth of power-to-weight ratio permitting to increase intensity of treatment of initial products. However, the efficiency and mobility of technologies in the present moment are yet far from their limit. The ideal technology, from the point of view of the efficiency, is such a technology, in which the initial products bodily and without rests are transformed into the target products. However, as it is stated by the corollary 4 of chapter "Axiomatics and formal description ", such variant is impossible and can serve only as abstract horizon. In the reality, the technological wastes make a large (if not primary) amount of the stream of final products.

In view of sharply grown volumes and concentration of production, ecological pressure of wastes on the environment has sharply grown. In many regions of the world chemical, electromagnetic, sound and other contamination of the environment have essentially reduced the comfort of life; indemnification of whish has required (and still require) significant and diverse public expenditures.


The tendencies of the development of technologies of the next century organically result from the dynamics of the development of public needs. A characteristic indication of the civilization of the last third of the 20th century is serious increase of energy and information securement and (accordingly) the degree of personal freedom of an individual, which forms further demand for itself.

The expressed demand for personal freedom of an individual, being reflected in technological medium, will stimulate the development of the technologies, which can realize the given need most completely..

This basic statement is pursuant to submissions S. Lem, who indicated, that "we understand progress as the growth of individual freedom" [1]. Thus, the development of both separate technologies, and technological medium in toto, will go in the atmosphere of increasing of personal freedom. First of all, the demand for increase of personal freedom will require the creation of the technologies, which operatively (better immediately) satisfy any need, wishes, and whims of an individual. It is natural, that such situation needs higher speed of updating of technological medium components, than it is available at the present moment. In this connection, the tendencies of the development of technologies are based on the necessity of resolution of the conflicts existing now.

In particular, in the orb of material manufacture these inconsistencies are the following:

Scientific and technical achievements (of second half of 20th century) in the field of microelectronics, automatic control systems and artificial intelligence have created necessary premises for resolving of these inconsistencies.

The main accent in the technological development will be made on the raise of mobility of technologies.

In the orb of material manufacture it, first, will cause to the appearance of a large number of small and supersmall productions capable to extremely fast deployment near the sources of raw materials or production consumers, that is near the conglomerates of other technological productions. By the main tendency in an orb of material production 21st centuries will become the tendency to a miniaturization. Large industrial enterprises with big homogeneous production will gradually be washed away from technological medium.

For maintenance of fast modernizing and re-profiling procedures, technologies of 21st century will have open-line architecture, when the equipment in a technological line is divided into a set of isolated mobile technological modules that permits to renovate the technological chain like the chain of children bricks. Insomuch as a relative smallness input and output streams, such technology lines can simply be equipped by built-in systems of ecological protection that will reduce ecological pressure on the environment in a region of manufacturing. Even in small technological chains the transition from technologies of a periodic operation to continuous technologies will primary happen, that will ensure higher accuracy in maintenance of technological parameters and will increase, thereby, both uniformity, and efficiency. Thus the inconsistency between the mobility and continuous operational mode will be removed owing to modularity of the equipment and "intellectual" computer control.

However some large systems of mass production will be saved, that will transfer the resolving of the inconsistencies, incorporated in them, to future time. First of all it concerns production and primary processing of mineral resources, agriculture, technology of fishery, systems of automobile and iron roads, power transmission lines, and also systems of pipelines. The operation some of these systems is rigidly determined by geography of resources, other systems, for example grid of highways, formed during tens and hundreds years and are extremely difficulty suitable to some serious reorganization (despite of possible reluctance of individuals with developed feeling of freedom to go on the same roads). Array of transports (as the components of transport technologies) intended for movement of the people, will also steadily be enriched by individual transport contrary to public transport.

As partial compensation of low mobility of power production, small power technologies based on use of "non-traditional" power sources (like wind and solar stations) and having a side benefit as low ecological pressure on the environment will be intensively developed. The creation of technologies of super-capacious electrical accumulators, which permit to increase autonomy of transport and small technological units, will become especially actual. The large and super-large power plants can be actual only in that measure, in which their existence does not contradict the principles of personal freedom (and ecology as freedom component).

As it was mentioned already, the information technologies as components of material and power manufacture will mostly be directed to increase the mobility and efficiency. In classical field of activity of information technologies (aria of service and entertainment, education, public regulation and mass media) the information technologies will not be affected by the tendency to a miniaturization in the same degree, as it was in the case of material and power manufacture, because the dynamic perfection of the given technologies, based on the achievements of the microelectronics and wireless communication, is reasonably high. On the contrary, in the given area the development of information technologies will be accompanied by the tendency to integration and interpenetration with the purpose of increasing the quality of a target product. Technologies of a multimedia and supermedia class that synthetically connecting characteristic features of various information technologies will be intensively developed. They permit to satisfy need of the people in positive emotions and in individual freedom feeling with large effect by immediate presentation of the information of interest with a various grain size.


Stanislaw Lem. SUMMA TECHNOLOGIAE. 1964.