Understanding Technology

Technology

Understanding Technology

Technology is the collective term for a group of human activities and the systems and tools they create. In the broadest sense, technology can be seen as the application of science to enhance the usefulness of human effort. More specifically, technology is defined by the use of new technologies to facilitate the performance of human activity, especially their interaction. Technology can also be defined as the total set of human knowledge and its applications that makes up the totality of human activity. By extension, it can also be taken to refer to the entire technological infrastructure that underlies economic activity.

Just as all human action arises from a given set of technological systems, all forms of technology must ultimately fall within a larger framework of human activity. Ultimately, technology is nothing more than the human capacity to learn, apply, analyze, test, modify, and improve. The specific technologies we speak of here, however, include telecommunications networks, retail markets, postal services, shipping services, international trade, automated systems, and the complex systems that support the operation of complex global organizations. While each of these technologies has its place in the larger context of technology, it is the interdependence among them that has led to the increasing calls for coordinated approaches to technology at the national and global level.

Technological change is no stranger to mankind. It has swept across all aspects of life, from the earliest forms of tools used to build shelter to the most modern modes of transportation. Technological change has contributed to nearly every aspect of our lives; from communications to finance, information to power, medicine to energy. With the pace of change increasing, there are many who question whether technology is the progressive force it claims to be or if, like all forces within our society, it is something that always needing to be modified and re-modeled to keep up with changing circumstances.

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