Technology is a general term used to refer to the knowledge, skills, tools, and processes used to perform a process. It can also be the knowledge and skills used to create a particular device or system, which affects an animal’s or human’s ability to manipulate and control their environment. Technology is often applied to specific fields such as construction or medical technology, and information technology. The earliest form of technology was simple tools, such as stone axes and hammers.
Humans began using technology to manipulate natural resources into simple tools. Early discoveries like fire and firelight provided humans with abundant food sources, and the wheel helped them travel through their environment. Other technologies such as the printing press and telephone made communication easier, while the Internet facilitated the flow of information across the globe. However, not all technological developments have been used for peaceful purposes. Throughout human history, human beings have developed weapons with ever-increasing destructive power.
German engineers and social scientists developed a broader concept of Technik. Their aim was to understand the relationship between technology and society. In 1911, Walter Sombart argued that the causal relationship between technology and human beings was bidirectional, a critique that resurfaced in the 1960s. Later, in 1860, William Barton Rogers proposed the name Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He probably had heard the word ‘technology’ while visiting Edinburgh University.
Today, healthcare professionals are increasingly reliant on technology to monitor patients. Wearable devices, such as smartwatches, offer biometric monitoring. Implanted devices provide more sophisticated monitoring capabilities. GPS, or Global Positioning System, can pinpoint locations on the earth with the help of satellites orbiting the planet. With its help, humans can receive real-time directions, monitor the transit of different objects, and even record precise time measurements. GPS is a common feature of many devices, from small handheld devices to large tracking systems.
The design of any technological product must consider the context in which it will be used. Most technology products require maintenance, repair, and replacement. All of these activities carry costs and can affect the cost of products. When comparing two designs, it is necessary to consider how much each has an impact on the environment and human health. So, while technological innovation may produce benefits, it may also produce unintended consequences. There is no way to fully prevent technological failure.
The term technology derives its roots from the Indo-European word tek, which probably meant “wooden house.” The Greek term techne referred to the skill of working with wood, but grew to refer to any artificial object or process. Historically, some authors of Hippocrates and Aristotle regarded medicine and rhetoric as forms of technology. Technology was not always beneficial to humanity, and in fact, it can negatively affect the quality of life.
Technology can be applied to all kinds of fields. Construction technology, for example, includes building construction, canals, inland waterways, dams, harbours, lighthouses, and other types of construction. It is also used in energy conversion, which includes energy production and energy utilization. Other types of technology focus on food production, which includes beekeeping, cereal farming, and coffee, as well as beverage production, such as beer and soft drinks.