Technological host-parasites co-evolution



Abctract. The fundamental problem in the field of technology studies is how technology evolves and sustains economic change in human society. This study confronts the problem here by proposing the theory of technological host-parasites coevolution, an approach that may be useful for bringing a new perspective to explain and generalize, whenever possible, the evolution of technology in human societies. Technological host-parasites coevolution is a mutual symbiotic relationship between a host technology and associated technologies directed to satisfy needs and/or to solve problems of human beings. To explore the potential of adopting a theory of technological host-parasites coevolution and to predict which technologies are likeliest to evolve rapidly, this study implements an empirical test based on historical data on the evolution of four example technologies (aircraft, tractor, locomotive and bicycle technology) to substantiate the theoretical framework. Empirical evidence is broadly consistent with the theoretical expectation that host technologies with many associated parasitic technologies advance rapidly, whereas host technologies with fewer parasitic technologies improve slowly. This study begins the process of clarifying and generalizing, as far as possible, the role of long-run coevolution between technologies in complex systems of technology. The proposed theoretical framework also lays a foundation for the development of more sophisticated concepts to explain technological and economic change in human society. The evolution of technology plays an important role in economic and social change of human society. However, little is known about how technologies evolve and sustain human progress, despite being a crucial process in socio-ecological systems for millennia. This study proposes, for the first time to our knowledge, a concept of technological host-parasites coevolution that may be useful for bringing a new perspective to explain the evolution of technology. Statistical results suggest that host technologies with many associated parasitic technologies have a higher rate of evolution than technologies with fewer associated parasitic systems and sub-systems. The mutual symbiotic relationship between a host and parasitic technologies seems to be an invariant property driving the evolution of technology in human society.

Keywords. Evolution of technology, Technological parasitism, Technological host-parasites coevolution, Technological interaction, Technological evolution, Coevolution, Nature of technology, Technological change, Host technology, Technological innovation.

JEL. B50, B52, O31, O32, O33, O39.


Evolution of technology; Technological parasitism; Technological host-parasites coevolution; Technological interaction; Technological evolution; Coevolution; Nature of technology; Technological change; Host technology; Technological innovation.

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