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"low tech" & "high tech" vs some other terms
I think John Wheeler is right that "high tech," in other circles, is
often used to refer to things that represent a more recent advent of
applying knowledge, which, after all, is what "technology" (the word,
not the subject) means. Outside of the aquatic plant circle(s), some
folks might be surprised at PC lights being considered part of a high
tech approach. However, that's true of most of what gets called "high
tech" in most circles. The newer and the more complicated are often
considered an upgrade and a higher use of technology, a more advanced
application of knowledge. Consider how sloppily and freely the term
"intelligent" gets applied when computer software is involved -- most
artificial intelligence, so-called, is less intelligent than most
cephalopods. But it is considered high tech in some circles. And what
might seem new and advanced in once circle, can be quite old hat in
another. . .infrared night vision devices being a good example.
And then there are those that think that the term "technology" refers
to things electronic, which would be surprise to a bridge engineer.
The use is pretty darn fluid.
Personally, I prefer "high speed" and "low speed," alluding to the
relative growth rates, but I doubt that it will catch on. I also think
"high cost" and "low cost" are equally, although only relatively,
descriptive. I doubt, too, that those will catch on. If everyone in a
circle of discussion is using a term as it has been recently coined,
the usage can hardly be called counterfeit. The use of "high tech" for
high tech aquatic gardening certainly has enough currency to be
linguistic currency, although these things change all the time.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it
means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." "The
question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many
different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to
be master-- that's all." -- Lewis Carrol, "Through the Looking Glass"
At least it's not latin.
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