What is technology?


What is technology?

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It can be a catchall term for applied knowledge along with the materials and methods employing human knowledge and discovery. What it “means” depends on the area and time period. Most people today might not consider the plough technology but, some time in history, it was.

Science, which is about the rules of the universe. Engineering is about the use of scientific rules to do or create something. Technology is the methods and processes to create wide spread applications of engineering.

E.g., science discovered electromagnetic radiation. Engineering developed ways to use electromagnetic radiation to transmit sound and data. E.g.,, a person in a lab built a device which used electromagnetic radiation. Technology is the methods and processes needed to create millions of phones from that first device.

Let’s say you do something regularly, a hobby maybe. Let’s use carpentry as an example. Because you do it so much, you begin to understand how it works. And because you understand it, you’ll adapt to new situations and you’ll come up with new ways of doing it. That’s technology: the understanding of how it works.

Currently technology is used to mean “something with computers”, but that’s because the invention of the computer meant that processes that had to deal with a lot of information (and I mean A LOT) can be simplified by their use. This is important to understand, because there are a lot of situations where it’s argued that a certain thing (an app, a machine) is more technological than the current method, while in fact we have to understand how the process work to see if it’s actually advantageous. Paper is a prime example, there are applications where a more electronic solution may not be worth.

“Technology” is a word that describes using knowledge to make useful stuff.

Technology can be simple (bang one rock against another to make it sharp, then attach the sharp rock to a long stick to make a stabby thing for killing food animals or enemy tribesmen).

Technology can be complicated (computers, TV’s, airplanes, nuclear power plants).

Technology is everywhere. Within the past 200-ish years, technology has started progressing so fast that it’s started significantly changing how large numbers of people live within the space of a human lifetime.

For example:

– Anyone older than 45 clearly remembers the world before most people had computers in their home.
– Anyone older than 35 clearly remembers the world before the Internet was a thing that most people used.
– Anyone older than 25 clearly remembers the world before everyone had a smartphone in their pocket.