What Is Technology?


Technology refers to a wide variety of tools, methods and processes that are used by humans to accomplish a task. It also involves the knowledge and skills of how to combine these tools, materials and resources for the benefit of mankind. Technological innovations have radically changed human societies, from agricultural revolutions to the development of bows and arrows, gunpowder and nuclear explosives. Modern technology includes the computers and communications systems that have greatly shortened distances, made it easier to exchange ideas, and increased the speed of human transactions.

Generally, most technological innovations spread or disappear on the basis of free-market forces and are not subject to formal regulation. However, some technologies can become controversial, such as contour plowing, genetic engineering, and nuclear power plants. These technologies are usually tested or introduced in small-scale pilot projects before they can be widely adopted and become part of the mainstream.

The most basic definition of technology is the application of knowledge creatively to organized tasks involving people and machines that meet sustainable goals. This is done through the use of equipment, materials and tools that are used in a manner appropriate to their purpose and intended results. Typically, the term technology is used in reference to advanced devices and machinery that can automate or streamline routine tasks and/or increase productivity. In contrast, technology in education can include a variety of teaching and learning techniques, including educational videos, tutorials/guidebooks, informational websites, and blogs from educators/authors.

All technology is based on a combination of knowledge, experience and skill, and this is what distinguishes it from artisanship or the mere practice of a trade. Most technology develops out of personal experimentation, with the accumulated knowledge being passed down from generation to generation. This accumulated knowledge can be either practical or scientific in nature. The scientific understanding is the more significant because it explains how things work, while practical knowledge focuses on what can be achieved and how to achieve it.

Most technologies involve a trade-off between different routes and ends. A technology must efficiently route the limited resources of people’s finite attention and energy. In doing this, it must implicitly endorse some paths and neglect others. This process can often be quite contentious, as competing technologies clamor for attention.

Most technological developments change human behavior by simplifying or automating a task. Some changes are minor, such as improvements in agriculture or sanitation that have improved the quality of life; other changes are radical, such as the development of clubs and arrows, bows and arrows, gunpowder, and nuclear weapons that have changed how war is waged. The most significant impact of any technology is its ability to change the way in which humans relate to each other and to their natural environment. Technological advancements have had a profound effect on our lives, but they can also cause serious problems when they are misused. This is why it is important to be aware of the risks and advantages that come with technological advancements.