What Is Technology?


Technology is the rational process of creating means to order and transform matter, energy, and information in order to realize certain valued ends. It encompasses both the tools and devices that enable such transformations, as well as the knowledge to discover new means for accomplishing them. Its scope is broad, encompassing everything from toothbrushes to transportation systems.

Every engineering design operates within constraints that must be identified and addressed: economic (only so much money is available for this project), political (local, state, and national regulations), social (disadvantage to some segments of the population or risk to future generations), ecological (likely disruption of the natural environment), and ethical (disadvantages to humans or potential harm to other species). Achieving a reasonable compromise among these demands requires thoughtful consideration of personal and environmental values.

Almost every modern technological innovation reflects this consideration. For example, automobile manufacturers consider how to reduce pollution while maximizing vehicle performance. In some cases, such considerations lead to the development of hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.

Moreover, many healthcare professionals rely on technology to monitor the status of patients. These tools can include wearable devices like smartwatches that can track biometric data, as well as tracking devices such as GPS. Even education has benefited from the advent of technology. Students no longer need to attend class physically and can use online platforms such as YouTube and Coursera to watch lectures and read textbooks. This can make the learning experience more engaging and helpful for students, especially when they can replay videos of important lectures.

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