Technology is the use of tools, machines, or systems to aid human endeavors. It is a broad field that encompasses many areas of life, including business, education, and the arts. It has both positive and negative impacts on society, depending on how it is used. Some examples of technology include computer software, a smartphone, or an ATM. Other technologies, like genetically modified foods or nuclear weapons, are more controversial.
Technological change is often attributed to the progress of science. This view focuses on the ability to create new and better tools for humans to interact with their environment. It is based on the notion that scientific advancements should be used for the good of humanity. While this view is important, it also ignores other aspects of technological change.
The term technology comes from the Greek word technologia, which combines techne, meaning art or craft, and logos, meaning saying or speech. It is sometimes referred to as the practical arts, and it is considered to be the articulation of a craft. It differs from science because it focuses on contingencies and specifics, while science is concerned with necessity and universality.
A key factor in the development of technology is individual invention and ingenuity. However, social and economic factors also strongly influence what technology will be undertaken, paid attention to, invested in, and used at any given time. These factors may include consumer acceptance, patent laws, government policy, market competition, financial risk capital, media attention, and more.
Modern technology has become increasingly complex. It requires extensive training for its designers, builders, and maintainers. Complex technology requires advanced engineering, biology, chemistry, and other disciplines. It is also expensive and time-consuming to produce. In some cases, the benefits of a new technology do not justify its costs.
The main types of technology include information technology, industrial and manufacturing technology, and communication technology. These technologies are used in various fields, such as business, education, and medicine. Some of them have been developed for a single purpose, while others are designed to serve multiple purposes. For example, a microchip can be used in multiple devices such as computers and telephones.
Besides advancing scientific research, these technologies can increase productivity in businesses, enhance education, and provide better health care. However, they can also disrupt existing social hierarchies, cause pollution, and harm individuals and communities.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to limit the effects of technology on our lives. These measures include regulating new technologies, educating the public, and providing support for technology-dependent people. The goal of these efforts is to ensure that the benefits of technology are greater than its risks. This will help reduce the number of people living in poverty and increase economic growth. It will also reduce the prevalence of a digital divide, which is the gap between those who have access to technology and those who do not. It will also increase the likelihood of future innovations, which can improve quality of life and make the world a better place to live.