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Technology encompasses all techniques, skills, methods, and procedures employed in the manufacture of goods or services, as well as the achievement of goals such as scientific research. Technology can be defined as the knowledge of procedures, processes, and the like, or it can be integrated in machines to allow for functioning without a thorough understanding of how they operate. Technology systems or technical systems are systems (e.g. machines) that apply technology by accepting an input, modifying it according to the system’s usage, and then providing an output.
The invention and use of fundamental tools is the most basic type of technology. The creation of shaped stone tools in prehistory, followed by the knowledge of how to regulate fire, improved food supplies. The Neolithic Revolution expanded on this, quadrupling the amount of food accessible from a given region. Humans were able to travel through and control their surroundings thanks to the advent of the wheel.
The printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, among other innovations, have reduced physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to engage freely on a worldwide scale.
There are several consequences of technology. It has aided in the development of more modern economies (including today’s global economy) and the growth of the leisure class. Many technological processes emit unwelcome by-products, such as pollution, and deplete natural resources, both of which are harmful to the Earth’s ecosystem. Innovations have always had an impact on a society’s values and brought new problems about technological ethics. The emergence of the concept of efficiency in terms of human output, as well as the issues of bioethics, are two examples.
About the usage of technology, philosophical conflicts have erupted, including differences over whether technology enhances or worsens the human situation. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and other reactionary movements decry technology’s pervasiveness, claiming that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of transhumanism and techno-progressivism, on the other hand, see continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.
Over the last 200 years, the definition of “technology” has shifted dramatically. The phrase was uncommon in English before the twentieth century, and it was used either to describe or study the useful arts, or to indicate to technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861).
The term “technology” became popular in the twentieth century as a result of the Second Industrial Revolution. When American social scientists, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated concepts from the German notion of Technik into “technology,” the term’s connotations shifted. There is a distinction between technik and technologie in German and other European languages that is lacking in English, which commonly translates both terms as “technology.” By the 1930s, “technology” had come to mean both the study of and the practice of the industrial arts.
“All tools, machinery, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothes, communication and transportation gadgets, and the abilities through which humans manufacture and utilize them,” declared American sociologist Read Bain in 1937. Bain’s term is still widely used today by academics, particularly social scientists. Applied science, rather than the objects that people manufacture and use, is how scientists and engineers commonly describe technology. Scholars have lately drawn from European “technique” philosophers to broaden the definition of technology to include diverse types of instrumental reason, such as Foucault’s work on technologies of the self (techniques de soi).