What Is Technology?

Technology is the application of knowledge for achieving practical goals in a reproducible way. This includes both tangible tools such as utensils and machines, and intangible ones such as software.

Technological innovations spread or disappear on the basis of free-market forces, that is, on the basis of how people and companies respond to them. Occasionally, however, the use of a technology becomes an issue subject to public debate and possibly formal regulation.

When a technology is developed, it usually operates within constraints, such as economic, political, social, and ecological. Reaching an optimum design involves striking reasonable compromises among these constraints.

In addition, new technological systems often require human control, including the monitoring and programing of built-in control elements, and the oversight and governance of the entire system, as well as its energy use. These controls are sometimes called “systems of control” and can be very complex.

Increasingly, technological systems also require sophisticated training in their construction and maintenance. For example, the design and installation of computer systems requires an understanding of complex hardware, networked software, telecommunications, and data security.

As a result, many people are needed to build and maintain technology, including engineers, architects, technicians, scientists, and computer technicians. These professionals also need to understand the context in which their work is being done and to develop methods for communicating with other members of their team.

In summary, technology has a significant impact on our lives and can make them easier and more enjoyable. However, when it is abused or created carelessly, it can have terrible consequences.