Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art,
skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia) is the collection
of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production
of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as
Technology can be the knowledge of
techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines
to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings.
The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic
tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later
Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the
invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their
environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing
press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical
barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a
Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced
economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise
of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted
by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the
detriment of Earth's environment. Innovations have always influenced
the values of a society and raised new questions of the ethics of
technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in
terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with
disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or
worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary
movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it
harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies
such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued
technological progress as beneficial to society and the human
1 Definition and usage
2 Science, engineering and technology
3.1 Paleolithic (2.5 Ma – 10 ka)
3.1.1 Stone tools
Clothing and shelter
Neolithic through classical antiquity (10 ka – 300 CE)
3.2.1 Metal tools
Energy and transport
3.3 Medieval and modern history (300 CE – present)
4.3 Skepticism and critics
4.4 Appropriate technology
4.5 Optimism and skepticism in the 21st century
4.6 Complex technological systems
6 Other animal species
7 Future technology
8 See also
10 Further reading
Definition and usage
The spread of paper and printing to the West, as in this printing
press, helped scientists and politicians communicate their ideas
easily, leading to the Age of Enlightenment; an example of technology
as cultural force.
The use of the term "technology" has changed significantly over the
last 200 years. Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in
English, and it was used either to refer to the description or study
of the useful arts or to allude to technical education, as in the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861).
The term "technology" rose to prominence in the 20th century in
connection with the Second Industrial Revolution. The term's meanings
changed in the early 20th century when American social scientists,
beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated ideas from the German
concept of Technik into "technology." In German and other European
languages, a distinction exists between technik and technologie that
is absent in English, which usually translates both terms as
"technology." By the 1930s, "technology" referred not only to the
study of the industrial arts but to the industrial arts themselves.
In 1937, the American sociologist Read Bain wrote that "technology
includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing,
clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by
which we produce and use them." Bain's definition remains common
among scholars today, especially social scientists. Scientists and
engineers usually prefer to define technology as applied science,
rather than as the things that people make and use. More recently,
scholars have borrowed from European philosophers of "technique" to
extend the meaning of technology to various forms of instrumental
reason, as in Foucault's work on technologies of the self (techniques
Dictionaries and scholars have offered a variety of definitions. The
Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary offers a definition of the term:
"the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful
things or to solve problems" and "a machine, piece of equipment,
method, etc., that is created by technology." Ursula Franklin, in
her 1989 "Real World of Technology" lecture, gave another definition
of the concept; it is "practice, the way we do things around here."
The term is often used to imply a specific field of technology, or to
refer to high technology or just consumer electronics, rather than
technology as a whole. Bernard Stiegler, in Technics and Time, 1,
defines technology in two ways: as "the pursuit of life by means other
than life," and as "organized inorganic matter."
Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material
and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical
effort in order to achieve some value. In this usage, technology
refers to tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world
problems. It is a far-reaching term that may include simple tools,
such as a crowbar or wooden spoon, or more complex machines, such as a
space station or particle accelerator. Tools and machines need not be
material; virtual technology, such as computer software and business
methods, fall under this definition of technology. W. Brian Arthur
defines technology in a similarly broad way as "a means to fulfill a
The word "technology" can also be used to refer to a collection of
techniques. In this context, it is the current state of humanity's
knowledge of how to combine resources to produce desired products, to
solve problems, fulfill needs, or satisfy wants; it includes technical
methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools and raw materials. When
combined with another term, such as "medical technology" or "space
technology," it refers to the state of the respective field's
knowledge and tools. "
State-of-the-art technology" refers to the high
technology available to humanity in any field.
The invention of integrated circuits and the microprocessor (here, an
Intel 4004 chip from 1971) led to the modern computer revolution.
Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes
culture. Additionally, technology is the application of math,
science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known. A modern
example is the rise of communication technology, which has lessened
barriers to human interaction and as a result has helped spawn new
subcultures; the rise of cyberculture has at its basis the development
Internet and the computer. Not all technology enhances
culture in a creative way; technology can also help facilitate
political oppression and war via tools such as guns. As a cultural
activity, technology predates both science and engineering, each of
which formalize some aspects of technological endeavor.
Science, engineering and technology
Antoine Lavoisier conducting an experiment with combustion generated
by amplified sun light
The distinction between science, engineering, and technology is not
Science is systematic knowledge of the physical or
material world gained through observation and experimentation.
Technologies are not usually exclusively products of science, because
they have to satisfy requirements such as utility, usability, and
Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools
and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means,
often (but not always) using results and techniques from science. The
development of technology may draw upon many fields of knowledge,
including scientific, engineering, mathematical, linguistic, and
historical knowledge, to achieve some practical result.
Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering, although
technology as a human activity precedes the two fields. For example,
science might study the flow of electrons in electrical conductors by
using already-existing tools and knowledge. This new-found knowledge
may then be used by engineers to create new tools and machines such as
semiconductors, computers, and other forms of advanced technology. In
this sense, scientists and engineers may both be considered
technologists; the three fields are often considered as one for the
purposes of research and reference.
The exact relations between science and technology in particular have
been debated by scientists, historians, and policymakers in the late
20th century, in part because the debate can inform the funding of
basic and applied science. In the immediate wake of World War II, for
example, it was widely considered in the United States that technology
was simply "applied science" and that to fund basic science was to
reap technological results in due time. An articulation of this
philosophy could be found explicitly in Vannevar Bush's treatise on
postwar science policy,
Science – The Endless Frontier: "New
products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions
to knowledge of the laws of nature ... This essential new
knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research."
In the late-1960s, however, this view came under direct attack,
leading towards initiatives to fund science for specific tasks
(initiatives resisted by the scientific community). The issue remains
contentious, though most analysts resist the model that technology
simply is a result of scientific research.
History of technology, Timeline of historic inventions,
and Timeline of electrical and electronic engineering
Paleolithic (2.5 Ma – 10 ka)
A primitive chopper
Further information: Outline of prehistoric technology
The use of tools by early humans was partly a process of discovery and
of evolution. Early humans evolved from a species of foraging hominids
which were already bipedal, with a brain mass approximately one
third of modern humans.
Tool use remained relatively unchanged for
most of early human history. Approximately 50,000 years ago, the use
of tools and complex set of behaviors emerged, believed by many
archaeologists to be connected to the emergence of fully modern
Hand axes from the
A Clovis point, made via pressure flaking
Hominids started using primitive stone tools millions of years ago.
The earliest stone tools were little more than a fractured rock, but
approximately 75,000 years ago, pressure flaking provided a way to
make much finer work.
Main article: Control of fire by early humans
The discovery and utilization of fire, a simple energy source with
many profound uses, was a turning point in the technological evolution
of humankind. The exact date of its discovery is not known;
evidence of burnt animal bones at the
Cradle of Humankind
Cradle of Humankind suggests
that the domestication of fire occurred before 1 Ma; scholarly
consensus indicates that
Homo erectus had controlled fire by between
500 and 400 ka. Fire, fueled with wood and charcoal, allowed
early humans to cook their food to increase its digestibility,
improving its nutrient value and broadening the number of foods that
could be eaten.
Clothing and shelter
Other technological advances made during the Paleolithic era were
clothing and shelter; the adoption of both technologies cannot be
dated exactly, but they were a key to humanity's progress. As the
Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated and
more elaborate; as early as 380 ka, humans were constructing temporary
wood huts. Clothing, adapted from the fur and hides of hunted
animals, helped humanity expand into colder regions; humans began to
migrate out of Africa by 200 ka and into other continents such as
Neolithic through classical antiquity (10 ka – 300 CE)
An array of
Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads,
chisels, and polishing tools
Human's technological ascent began in earnest in what is known as the
Neolithic Period ("New Stone Age"). The invention of polished stone
axes was a major advance that allowed forest clearance on a large
scale to create farms. This use of polished stone axes increased
greatly in the Neolithic, but were originally used in the preceding
Mesolithic in some areas such as Ireland.
Agriculture fed larger
populations, and the transition to sedentism allowed simultaneously
raising more children, as infants no longer needed to be carried, as
nomadic ones must. Additionally, children could contribute labor to
the raising of crops more readily than they could to the
With this increase in population and availability of labor came an
increase in labor specialization. What triggered the progression
Neolithic villages to the first cities, such as Uruk, and
the first civilizations, such as Sumer, is not specifically known;
however, the emergence of increasingly hierarchical social structures
and specialized labor, of trade and war amongst adjacent cultures, and
the need for collective action to overcome environmental challenges
such as irrigation, are all thought to have played a role.
Continuing improvements led to the furnace and bellows and provided,
for the first time, the ability to smelt and forge of gold, copper,
silver, and lead – native metals found in relatively pure form
in nature. The advantages of copper tools over stone, bone, and
wooden tools were quickly apparent to early humans, and native copper
was probably used from near the beginning of
Neolithic times (about 10
ka). Native copper does not naturally occur in large amounts, but
copper ores are quite common and some of them produce metal easily
when burned in wood or charcoal fires. Eventually, the working of
metals led to the discovery of alloys such as bronze and brass (about
4000 BCE). The first uses of iron alloys such as steel dates to around
Energy and transport
The wheel was invented circa 4000 BCE.
History of transport
Meanwhile, humans were learning to harness other forms of energy. The
earliest known use of wind power is the sailing ship; the earliest
record of a ship under sail is that of a Nile boat dating to the 8th
millennium BCE. From prehistoric times, Egyptians probably used
the power of the annual flooding of the Nile to irrigate their lands,
gradually learning to regulate much of it through purposely built
irrigation channels and "catch" basins. The ancient Sumerians in
Mesopotamia used a complex system of canals and levees to divert water
Euphrates rivers for irrigation.
According to archaeologists, the wheel was invented around 4000 BCE
probably independently and nearly simultaneously in
present-day Iraq), the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture) and Central
Europe. Estimates on when this may have occurred range from 5500
to 3000 BCE with most experts putting it closer to 4000 BCE. The
oldest artifacts with drawings depicting wheeled carts date from about
3500 BCE; however, the wheel may have been in use for millennia
before these drawings were made. More recently, the oldest-known
wooden wheel in the world was found in the Ljubljana marshes of
The invention of the wheel revolutionized trade and war. It did not
take long to discover that wheeled wagons could be used to carry heavy
loads. The ancient Sumerians used the potter's wheel and may have
invented it. A stone pottery wheel found in the city-state of Ur
dates to around 3429 BCE, and even older fragments of wheel-thrown
pottery have been found in the same area. Fast (rotary) potters'
wheels enabled early mass production of pottery, but it was the use of
the wheel as a transformer of energy (through water wheels, windmills,
and even treadmills) that revolutionized the application of nonhuman
power sources. The first two-wheeled carts were derived from
travois and were first used in
Iran in around 3000
The oldest known constructed roadways are the stone-paved streets of
the city-state of Ur, dating to circa 4000 BCE and timber roads
leading through the swamps of Glastonbury, England, dating to around
the same time period. The first long-distance road, which came
into use around 3500 BCE, spanned 1,500 miles from the Persian
Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, but was not paved and was only
partially maintained. In around 2000 BCE, the Minoans on the Greek
Crete built a fifty-kilometer (thirty-mile) road leading
from the palace of
Gortyn on the south side of the island, through the
mountains, to the palace of
Knossos on the north side of the
island. Unlike the earlier road, the Minoan road was completely
Photograph of the
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard in France, one of the most famous
ancient Roman aqueducts
Ancient Minoan private homes had running water. A bathtub
virtually identical to modern ones was unearthed at the Palace of
Knossos. Several Minoan private homes also had toilets, which
could be flushed by pouring water down the drain. The ancient
Romans had many public flush toilets, which emptied into an
extensive sewage system. The primary sewer in Rome was the Cloaca
Maxima; construction began on it in the sixth century BCE and it
is still in use today.
The ancient Romans also had a complex system of aqueducts, which
were used to transport water across long distances. The first
Roman aqueduct was built in 312 BCE. The eleventh and final
Roman aqueduct was built in 226 CE. Put together, the
Roman aqueducts extended over 450 kilometers, but less than
seventy kilometers of this was above ground and supported by
Medieval and modern history (300 CE – present)
Main articles: Medieval technology, Renaissance technology, Industrial
Revolution, Second Industrial Revolution, Information Technology, and
Productivity improving technologies (economic history)
Innovations continued through the
Middle Ages with innovations such as
silk, the horse collar and horseshoes in the first few hundred years
after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Medieval technology saw the use of
simple machines (such as the lever, the screw, and the pulley) being
combined to form more complicated tools, such as the wheelbarrow,
windmills and clocks. The Renaissance brought forth many of these
innovations, including the printing press (which facilitated the
greater communication of knowledge), and technology became
increasingly associated with science, beginning a cycle of mutual
advancement. The advancements in technology in this era allowed a more
steady supply of food, followed by the wider availability of consumer
The automobile revolutionized personal transportation.
Starting in the United Kingdom in the 18th century, the Industrial
Revolution was a period of great technological discovery, particularly
in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, metallurgy, and
transport, driven by the discovery of steam power.
another step in a second industrial revolution with the harnessing of
electricity to create such innovations as the electric motor, light
bulb, and countless others. Scientific advancement and the discovery
of new concepts later allowed for powered flight and advancements in
medicine, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The rise in technology
has led to skyscrapers and broad urban areas whose inhabitants rely on
motors to transport them and their food supply.
Communication was also
greatly improved with the invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio
and television. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a
revolution in transportation with the invention of the airplane and
F-16 flying over
Kuwaiti oil fires
Kuwaiti oil fires during the
Gulf War in
The 20th century brought a host of innovations. In physics, the
discovery of nuclear fission has led to both nuclear weapons and
Computers were also invented and later miniaturized
utilizing transistors and integrated circuits. Information technology
subsequently led to the creation of the Internet, which ushered in the
current Information Age. Humans have also been able to explore space
with satellites (later used for telecommunication) and in manned
missions going all the way to the moon. In medicine, this era brought
innovations such as open-heart surgery and later stem cell therapy
along with new medications and treatments.
Complex manufacturing and construction techniques and organizations
are needed to make and maintain these new technologies, and entire
industries have arisen to support and develop succeeding generations
of increasingly more complex tools. Modern technology increasingly
relies on training and education – their designers, builders,
maintainers, and users often require sophisticated general and
specific training. Moreover, these technologies have become so complex
that entire fields have been created to support them, including
engineering, medicine, and computer science, and other fields have
been made more complex, such as construction, transportation and
Generally, technicism is the belief in the utility of technology for
improving human societies. Taken to an extreme, technicism
"reflects a fundamental attitude which seeks to control reality, to
resolve all problems with the use of scientific–technological
methods and tools." In other words, human beings will someday be
able to master all problems and possibly even control the future using
technology. Some, such as Stephen V. Monsma, connect these ideas
to the abdication of religion as a higher moral authority.
See also: Extropianism
Optimistic assumptions are made by proponents of ideologies such as
transhumanism and singularitarianism, which view technological
development as generally having beneficial effects for the society and
the human condition. In these ideologies, technological development is
Transhumanists generally believe that the point of technology is to
overcome barriers, and that what we commonly refer to as the human
condition is just another barrier to be surpassed.
Singularitarians believe in some sort of "accelerating change"; that
the rate of technological progress accelerates as we obtain more
technology, and that this will culminate in a "Singularity" after
artificial general intelligence is invented in which progress is
nearly infinite; hence the term. Estimates for the date of this
Singularity vary, but prominent futurist
Ray Kurzweil estimates
the Singularity will occur in 2045.
Kurzweil is also known for his history of the universe in six epochs:
(1) the physical/chemical epoch, (2) the life epoch, (3) the
human/brain epoch, (4) the technology epoch, (5) the artificial
intelligence epoch, and (6) the universal colonization epoch. Going
from one epoch to the next is a Singularity in its own right, and a
period of speeding up precedes it. Each epoch takes a shorter time,
which means the whole history of the universe is one giant Singularity
Some critics see these ideologies as examples of scientism and
techno-utopianism and fear the notion of human enhancement and
technological singularity which they support. Some have described Karl
Marx as a techno-optimist.
Skepticism and critics
See also: Luddite, Neo-Luddism, Anarcho-primitivism, and
Luddites smashing a power loom in 1812
On the somewhat skeptical side are certain philosophers like Herbert
Marcuse and John Zerzan, who believe that technological societies are
inherently flawed. They suggest that the inevitable result of such a
society is to become evermore technological at the cost of freedom and
Many, such as the
Luddites and prominent philosopher Martin Heidegger,
hold serious, although not entirely, deterministic reservations about
technology (see "The Question Concerning Technology"). According
to Heidegger scholars
Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa, "Heidegger
does not oppose technology. He hopes to reveal the essence of
technology in a way that 'in no way confines us to a stultified
compulsion to push on blindly with technology or, what comes to the
same thing, to rebel helplessly against it.' Indeed, he promises that
'when we once open ourselves expressly to the essence of technology,
we find ourselves unexpectedly taken into a freeing claim.' What
this entails is a more complex relationship to technology than either
techno-optimists or techno-pessimists tend to allow."
Some of the most poignant criticisms of technology are found in what
are now considered to be dystopian literary classics such as Aldous
Huxley's Brave New World, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, and
George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In Goethe's Faust, Faust selling
his soul to the devil in return for power over the physical world is
also often interpreted as a metaphor for the adoption of industrial
technology. More recently, modern works of science fiction such as
Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick and
William Gibson and films such as Blade
Runner and Ghost in the Shell project highly ambivalent or cautionary
attitudes toward technology's impact on human society and identity.
The late cultural critic
Neil Postman distinguished tool-using
societies from technological societies and from what he called
"technopolies," societies that are dominated by the ideology of
technological and scientific progress to the exclusion or harm of
other cultural practices, values and world-views.
Darin Barney has written about technology's impact on practices of
citizenship and democratic culture, suggesting that technology can be
construed as (1) an object of political debate, (2) a means or medium
of discussion, and (3) a setting for democratic deliberation and
citizenship. As a setting for democratic culture, Barney suggests that
technology tends to make ethical questions, including the question of
what a good life consists in, nearly impossible, because they already
give an answer to the question: a good life is one that includes the
use of more and more technology.
Nikolas Kompridis has also written about the dangers of new
technology, such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, synthetic
biology, and robotics. He warns that these technologies introduce
unprecedented new challenges to human beings, including the
possibility of the permanent alteration of our biological nature.
These concerns are shared by other philosophers, scientists and public
intellectuals who have written about similar issues (e.g. Francis
Fukuyama, Jürgen Habermas, William Joy, and Michael Sandel).
Another prominent critic of technology is Hubert Dreyfus, who has
published books such as On the
Internet and What
Computers Still Can't
A more infamous anti-technological treatise is Industrial Society and
Its Future, written by the Unabomber
Ted Kaczynski and printed in
several major newspapers (and later books) as part of an effort to end
his bombing campaign of the techno-industrial infrastructure.
Technocriticism and Technorealism
The notion of appropriate technology was developed in the 20th century
by thinkers such as
E. F. Schumacher and
Jacques Ellul to describe
situations where it was not desirable to use very new technologies or
those that required access to some centralized infrastructure or parts
or skills imported from elsewhere. The ecovillage movement emerged in
part due to this concern.
Optimism and skepticism in the 21st century
This section mainly focuses on American concerns even if it can
reasonably be generalized to other Western countries.
The inadequate quantity and quality of American jobs is one of the
most fundamental economic challenges we face. [...] What's the linkage
between technology and this fundamental problem?
— Bernstein, Jared, "It’s Not a Skills Gap That’s Holding
Wages Down: It’s the Weak Economy, Among Other Things," in The
American Prospect, October 2014
In his article, Jared Bernstein, a Senior Fellow at the Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities, questions the widespread idea that
automation, and more broadly, technological advances, have mainly
contributed to this growing labor market problem. His thesis appears
to be a third way between optimism and skepticism. Essentially, he
stands for a neutral approach of the linkage between technology and
American issues concerning unemployment and declining wages.
He uses two main arguments to defend his point. First, because of
recent technological advances, an increasing number of workers are
losing their jobs. Yet, scientific evidence fails to clearly
demonstrate that technology has displaced so many workers that it has
created more problems than it has solved. Indeed, automation threatens
repetitive jobs but higher-end jobs are still necessary because they
complement technology and manual jobs that "requires flexibility
judgment and common sense" remain hard to replace with machines.
Second, studies have not shown clear links between recent technology
advances and the wage trends of the last decades.
Therefore, according to Bernstein, instead of focusing on technology
and its hypothetical influences on current American increasing
unemployment and declining wages, one needs to worry more about "bad
policy that fails to offset the imbalances in demand, trade, income
For people who use both the
Internet and mobile devices in excessive
quantities it is likely for them to experience fatigue and over
exhaustion as a result of disruptions in their sleeping patterns.
Continuous studies have shown that increased BMI and weight gain are
associated with people who spend long hours online and not exercising
frequently . Heavy
Internet use is also displayed in the school
lower grades of those who use it in excessive amounts . It has
also been noted that the use of mobile phones whilst driving has
increased the occurrence of road accidents — particularly amongst
teen drivers. Statistically, teens reportedly have fourfold the amount
of road traffic incidents as those who are 20 years or older, and a
very high percentage of adolescents write (81%) and read (92%) texts
while driving. In this context, mass media and technology have a
negative impact on people, on both their mental and physical health.
Complex technological systems
Thomas P. Hughes stated that because technology has been considered as
a key way to solve problems, we need to be aware of its complex and
varied characters to use it more efficiently. What is the
difference between a wheel or a compass and cooking machines such as
an oven or a gas stove? Can we consider all of them, only a part of
them, or none of them as technologies?
Technology is often considered too narrowly; according to Hughes,
Technology is a creative process involving human ingenuity". This
definition's emphasis on creativity avoids unbounded definitions that
may mistakenly include cooking “technologies," but it also
highlights the prominent role of humans and therefore their
responsibilities for the use of complex technological systems.
Yet, because technology is everywhere and has dramatically changed
landscapes and societies, Hughes argues that engineers, scientists,
and managers have often believed that they can use technology to shape
the world as they want. They have often supposed that technology is
easily controllable and this assumption has to be thoroughly
questioned. For instance,
Evgeny Morozov particularly challenges
two concepts: “Internet-centrism” and “solutionism."
Internet-centrism refers to the idea that our society is convinced
Internet is one of the most stable and coherent forces.
Solutionism is the ideology that every social issue can be solved
thanks to technology and especially thanks to the internet. In fact,
technology intrinsically contains uncertainties and limitations.
According to Alexis Madrigal's review of Morozov's theory, to ignore
it will lead to “unexpected consequences that could eventually cause
more damage than the problems they seek to address." Benjamin R.
Cohen and Gwen Ottinger also discussed the multivalent effects of
Therefore, recognition of the limitations of technology, and more
broadly, scientific knowledge, is needed – especially in cases
dealing with environmental justice and health issues. Ottinger
continues this reasoning and argues that the ongoing recognition of
the limitations of scientific knowledge goes hand in hand with
scientists and engineers’ new comprehension of their role. Such an
approach of technology and science "[require] technical professionals
to conceive of their roles in the process differently. [They have to
consider themselves as] collaborators in research and problem solving
rather than simply providers of information and technical
Technology is properly defined as any application of science to
accomplish a function. The science can be leading edge or well
established and the function can have high visibility or be
significantly more mundane, but it is all technology, and its
exploitation is the foundation of all competitive advantage.
Technology-based planning is what was used to build the US industrial
giants before WWII (e.g., Dow, DuPont, GM) and it is what was used to
transform the US into a superpower. It was not economic-based
Other animal species
Tool use by animals, Structures built by animals, and
This adult gorilla uses a branch as a walking stick to gauge the
water's depth, an example of technology usage by non-human primates.
The use of basic technology is also a feature of other animal species
apart from humans. These include primates such as chimpanzees,
some dolphin communities, and crows. Considering a more
generic perspective of technology as ethology of active environmental
conditioning and control, we can also refer to animal examples such as
beavers and their dams, or bees and their honeycombs.
The ability to make and use tools was once considered a defining
characteristic of the genus Homo. However, the discovery of tool
construction among chimpanzees and related primates has discarded the
notion of the use of technology as unique to humans. For example,
researchers have observed wild chimpanzees utilising tools for
foraging: some of the tools used include leaf sponges, termite fishing
probes, pestles and levers. West African chimpanzees also use
stone hammers and anvils for cracking nuts, as do capuchin monkeys
of Boa Vista, Brazil.
Main article: Emerging technologies
Theories of technology often attempt to predict the future of
technology based on the high technology and science of the time. As
with all predictions of the future, however, technology's is
In 2005, futurist
Ray Kurzweil predicted that the future of technology
would mainly consist of an overlapping "GNR Revolution" of genetics,
nanotechnology and robotics, with robotics being the most important of
Main article: Outline of technology
Critique of technology
Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century
History of science and technology
Law of the instrument – Golden hammer
List of years in science
Science and technology in Argentina
Technology and society
Superpower § Possible factors
Theories and concepts in technology
Diffusion of innovations
Instrumental conception of technology
Philosophy of technology
Strategy of Technology
Technology readiness level
Economics of technology
Productivity improving technologies (economic history)
Technology acceptance model
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New Stone Age
New World crops
Ard / plough
Mortar and pestle
Bow and arrow
Game drive system
Langdale axe industry
British megalith architecture
Nordic megalith architecture
Neolithic long house
Abri de la Madeleine
Alp pile dwellings
Wattle and daub
Megalithic architectural elements
Arts and culture
Art of the Upper Paleolithic
Art of the Middle Paleolithic
Stone Age art
Bradshaw rock paintings
Carved Stone Balls
Cup and ring mark
British Isles and Brittany
Mound Builders culture
Stone box grave
Unchambered long cairn
Origin of language
Divje Babe flute
Origin of religion
Spiritual drug use
Closed ecological systems
Genetically modified food
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence
Whole genome sequencing
Bionic contact lens
Optical head-mounted display
Virtual retinal display
Multi-primary color display
Thermal copper pillar bump
Airborne wind turbine
Concentrated solar power
Home fuel cell
Molten salt reactor
Space-based solar power
Compressed air energy storage
Flywheel energy storage
Grid energy storage
Research in lithium-ion batteries
Thermal energy storage
Internet of things
Applications of artificial intelligence
Progress in artificial intelligence
Carbon nanotube field-effect transistor
Fourth-generation optical discs
3D optical data storage
Holographic data storage
Three-dimensional integrated circuit
Linear acetylenic carbon
Pure fusion weapon
Vortex ring gun
Quantum complexity theory
Quantum error correction
Quantum key distribution
Quantum logic gates
Quantum machine learning
Quantum neural network
Self-reconfiguring modular robot
Reusable launch system
Plasma propulsion engine
Nuclear pulse propulsion
Adaptive compliant wing
Pulse detonation engine
Alternative fuel vehicle
Ground effect train
Personal rapid transit
Vehicular communication systems
Automated vacuum collection
Cloak of invisibility
Digital scent technology
Immersive virtual reality
Differential technological development
Technology readiness level