When I read Mary Shelley's novel as a teen, I was surprised to discover that Frankenstein was the name of the scientist, not the name of the monster. Similarly, what we tend to identify as technology is just evidence of technology — mere artifacts. The real technology exists within us, or more accurately, between us.

We can understand a skill as an acquired ability to perform, and performance as a deliberate, effective and systematic concentration of resources to achieve a result. To acquire a skill we must learn it, but technology extends skill with the capability of being taught.

Karloff as Frankenstein

When we misapply the definition of technology onto its artifacts, we miss an important connection. Likewise, without the original novel, a nuanced admonition about the reach of human ambition, skill and (surprise!) technology is supplanted by a lumbering Boris Karloff. Apt.

The connection we miss is threefold. First, concentrating heavily on the newest gadgets completely ignores the evolutionary process that made them possible. Second, any form that has come about from deliberate human intervention, with the possible exception of more humans, can be understood as an artifact of technology. Not just gadgets and not just the new stuff, but ways of thinking, conversing and behaving. Third and possibly most important, a technology is not only acquired but can be expressed and communicated in language, recorded and even encoded into the shapes of the artifacts themselves. This means that anything that we have evidence of anybody ever accomplishing can be accomplished again by somebody else, possibly even you.

Technology is itself an extremely successful technology: the systematic treatment and discussion of skill. But when we talk about technology, we're discussing discussing skill. Too meta. Put down the gadgets, go outside, learn some new skills and teach some technologies to others.