When Machines Talk: A Brief Analysis of Some Relations between Technology and Language

history and philosophy of technology

This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language builds on sustained discussions of the relation of the (philosophy of) technology and the (philosophy of) language, for example in the suggestion that there are “technology games” in analogy to “language games” as forms of life. In light of recent technological developments, this essay takes another step by way of distinguishing three types of interaction between language and technology as one considers technology as a language author, language user, and shaper of a form of life. This reflects back on what technology itself is and does. Technology is deeply integrated in, and interwoven with, our human world and our human thinking, which is always also a world permeated with, and enabled by, language.