Old-Hat, State-of-the-Art & Other Words to Describe Technology

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.”

Steve Wozniak, an American electronics engineer, programmer, philanthropist, and technology entrepreneur

If you are wondering what words (except for “modern” and “obsolete“) you can use to describe technology, read on. We’ll also analyze when “technology” is a countable noun and when it is uncountable. Would you like a small test to check you knowledge after reading? You’ve got it 😉 .

Technology or Technologies?

Technology is a variable noun, which means it can be considered countable or uncountable depending on the situation:

Technology is changing fast. (≈ methods, systems, and devices collectively)

We need to develop a cheaper technology. (≈ a cheaper piece of technology)

Information technology (technologies) (IT) is the study or use of electronic processes and equipment for storing information and making it available. Still, “information technologies” is a correct expression if you mean not the IT sphere but pieces of technology related to storing and sending information:

Advanced information technologies enhance the quality of health care.

These information technologies have evolved over many years.

New approaches to information technologies increase the efficiency of medical diagnostic and treatment.

What technology?

The world of technology is fast-changing and exciting, but it’s not easy for everyone to keep pace in it. Fear or dislike of new technology, especially of computers, is called technophobia /ˌteknəʊˈfəʊbiə/, and this is how technophobes might describe technologies causing their distress:

  • intimidating – making sb. feel nervous, frightened, or less confident: Formerly intimidating technologies suddenly became simple and widely accessible.
  • unnerving – intimidating: Some people find drones unnerving.
  • creepyunpleasant in a way that makes you feel unnerved: Internet surveillance is creepy and disturbing.

Much more positive adjectives are:

  • sophisticated – complicated and advanced: This is highly sophisticated surveillance equipment.
  • revolutionary – completely new and having a great effect: The computer is truly revolutionary.
  • state-of-the-art – ultramodern, futuristic: The control panel uses all the newest technology and is considered state-of-the-art.
  • white-hot – extremely impressive or exciting: Isn’t a foldable smartphone a white-hot technology?
  • cutting-edge – very modern: Japan is home to cutting-edge technology and innovation.
  • leading-edge – the most modern and advanced: Astonishingly accurate results can be achieved with our leading-edge speech recognition software.
  • bleeding-edge – so modern that it is still being developed: It’s still bleeding-edge technology but we hope it’ll have been developed by 2030.
  • up-to-datemodern and using the latest ideas or knowledge: We go to a lot of trouble to keep our database up-to-date.
  • ground-breaking – innovative, pioneering: Most people trying to innovate are not focused on researching and following ground breaking technologies.

Do you happen to be annoyed by a feature, design, etc.? Here are some adjectives you can use:

  • newfangled (disapproving) – recently made for the first time, but not always an improvement on what existed before: I was very skeptical of these newfangled computer things.
  • old-hat – not interesting because of being familiar: To me, folding flip phones are old-hat.
  • redundant – not needed: Computers have made our paper records redundant.
  • outdated – old-fashioned and therefore not as good or as fashionable as something modern: Nowadays this gadget is completely outdated.
  • outmoded (disapproving) – no longer modern, useful, or necessary: This may have been created on an outmoded computer.

Test

Choose the right word to complete the sentences (the answers are below the picture):

  1. This program is a cutting-edge / bleeding-edge / leading-edge technology at the moment – we are still working on it.
  2. Consider me a/an old hat / technophobe / ground-breaker but I can’t help thinking technology is unnerving and even creepy at times.
  3. I just don’t understand those outdated / outmoded / newfangled phones. I want something simple that I can call people on.
  4. That device was outdated / revolutionary / white-hot before it even went on the market. Nobody uses them anymore.
  5. This really is a redundant / ground-breaking / newfangled development. It will change the way we communicate forever.
  6. Gas lamps became up-to-date / cutting-edge / obsolete when electric lighting was invented.
pexels-photo-744365

Is this technology old-hat?

Answer key: 1. bleeding-edge 2. technophobe 3. newfangled 4. outdated 5. ground-breaking 6. obsolete

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