We humans tend to oversimplify things; ergo there are only two kinds of people. The nerds embrace technology, and the Luddites oppose it. We are certain we understand the distinction, but we are wrong.
The appellation nerd is so entwined with our culture that it is nearly impossible to pin down the exact origin or meaning. References from the 1930’s suggest that it is drunk spelled backwards, implying that a knurd, too square to get smashed, is an anti-drunk. Another theory has it as a combination of nut and turd, the implication of which should be obvious. There is some credibility to the idea that the fantastical nerd in Dr. Seuss’s book If I Ran the Zoo is the primary source; it was published around the same time as a Newsweek article citing nerd as an example of contemporary teen-jargon.
To further confuse things, the word geek is occasionally used interchangeably with nerd. We can thank Best Buy for firmly associating the g-word with technology by means of their electronic repairmen known as the Geek Squad. Geek may actually predate Nerd, although it was first used to describe circus sideshow freaks, whose occupation had little to do with technology.