Technology is the application of knowledge to improve the lives of people and their environment. It encompasses a wide range of fields and activities, from the development of simple tools to the creation of complex systems such as computers, the Internet, and robots. The concept of technology is closely linked to the development of civilizations, and it has been an important factor in human progress. Technological advances have improved the lives of humans by facilitating food production, transportation, communication, entertainment, and warfare. In addition, they have increased productivity and enabled us to overcome obstacles in the natural world. However, not all technological advances have been beneficial; some have resulted in significant environmental damage and social unrest.
Technology has always been an integral part of human culture. It is considered a fundamental component of a society, along with language, ritual, commerce, and art. It is also a crucial component of the scientific method. Since the 15th century, mankind has been engaged in an accelerating process of technological innovation, culminating in modern information technology (IT), communications, energy, materials science, space travel, entertainment, and medicine.
Although individual inventiveness is critical to technological progress, social and economic forces strongly influence which technological options will be undertaken, paid attention to, invested in, and used. Such decisions are made directly by government policy and indirectly through social pressures, economic competition, media attention, public funding, patent laws, investment incentives, and other factors. Such decisions often have profound effects on the form and nature of technology.
In the broadest sense, technology is a set of tools, techniques, and practices for organizing and controlling a social system. It is the sum of a cultural system’s skills, crafts, and knowledge. It includes design, engineering, manufacturing, management, marketing, and maintenance. It also includes the training of personnel to operate and maintain equipment.
Many people have a hard time defining what exactly is meant by the term “technology.” Some associate it solely with gadgetry, while others think of all the ways that technology makes life better today than it did in the past. It is difficult to talk about technology precisely because it is such a powerful and all-encompassing phenomenon. It can be found in the sublime of planetary science, but it can also be seen in the mundane act of changing gears while driving a car or even brushing your teeth. One way to understand technology is by analyzing the way it builds itself out of itself. Arthur uses the word “combinatorial” to describe a key feature of technology. He argues that technological progress occurs mainly when we identify a new need and then combine existing technologies to meet it. A jet engine, for example, is built from technologies like a compressor and turbine. Each of these in turn is made from other technologies, such as an anti-stall system and a turbine blade cooling system. The result is a fractal process in which technology is constantly building itself out of itself.