The Study of Technology


Technology is a broad term that encompasses all the tools and devices people use to enhance their lives. From the prehistoric discovery of fire to today’s mp3 players and self-driving cars, technology has shaped our society in many ways. It’s important to understand the different types of technologies and how they impact our daily lives.

The study of technology is known as science and technology in society, and it’s essential to know how to recognize, evaluate, and implement the various technologies we encounter. It’s also helpful to know the different impacts that technology has on our social and natural environments. This knowledge can be used by those who research and develop new technologies, as well as those who rely on them to live their daily lives.

Historically, technology has been considered as a powerful means to an end. It has helped humans overcome natural limitations, such as limited food sources, to expand and control their environment on a global scale. However, it’s important to recognize that many technological processes produce unwanted by-products or deplete natural resources, which can have adverse effects on the Earth and its inhabitants. Moreover, the use of certain technology may influence a society’s values and even challenge traditional norms.

For instance, a growing number of people work remotely thanks to the Internet and other digital technologies. These systems also help people communicate with each other, which has made it easier to build global businesses. Some experts have argued that this change has led to a loss of personal interaction, which can be detrimental to one’s mental health and well-being.

There are two sharply diverging traditions of talking about technology. The first, called instrumentalist, uses the language of means and ends to portray technology as a narrow technical rationality that is uncreative and devoid of values. This approach to technology is found in such influential works as Aristotle, Hugh of St Victor, Johann Beckmann and Talcott Parsons.

The other approach is to view technology as a complex, dynamic and fluid process that has both positive and negative implications for society. This perspective focuses on the social and cultural aspects of technology, as well as its interactions with human beings and nature. It is embodied in such classic dystopian novels as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Goethe’s Faust.

It’s crucial to remember that despite the wide array of available technologies, human curiosity and foresight remain at the core. Ultimately, it’s all about making the tools that we need to survive in our ever-changing world. This applies to both the sublime of planetary science, as well as the mundane act of changing gears on your car or brushing your teeth. This broader understanding of technology opens the door for a deeper and richer analysis, complementing or challenging existing interpretive sociology of technology and a restart of philosophy of technology.