Technology refers to the use of materials, energy, and information in the creation of products and services that enhance and improve everyday life. It is the basis for modern economies, and it is estimated that about 88 percent of all economic growth can be traced back to technological advances. It is also the reason that most of us have a television, a computer, and electricity.
Ultimately, however, the true meaning of technology is not so much in its underlying principles, as it is in its human element. It is through the development of tools that humans have made progress as a species, and it is through human curiosity and foresight that most of today’s amazing technologies are discovered and created.
A hammer, for example, is a piece of technology that has many different uses; it can drive a nail, stop a door, start a fire, and even bang a gong. But a hammer is not self-sufficient and, therefore, it needs to be combined with other resources and tools to form an integrated system of production. The same can be said for most modern technology, which is why they require complex construction techniques and organizations to build, maintain, and operate.
Most importantly, though, it is the user of technology who must decide how to prioritize a given set of means towards a particular end. This is what makes technology unique, and it is the defining aspect of its relationship with science. Science focuses on necessity and universality, but the technologist must consider contingencies, constraints, and behavior in specific circumstances.
In the end, it is up to the individual to determine what kind of use he or she will make of technology in the context of society, and this is often why many people are apprehensive about certain aspects of the digital world. Cyber-attacks are one example of this, and the loss of sensitive data is a constant concern that can lead to financial losses for both individuals and businesses.
While some people have doubts about the impact of modern technology on their lives, others argue that it is inevitable, and will continue to have a positive effect in the future. Others, however, believe that the effects of technology are not yet fully understood, and that the benefits may be outweighed by its negative side-effects. Examples of this are neo-Luddism and anarcho-primitivism, which argue that modern technology harms the environment and alienates human beings; while proponents of ideologies such as techno-progressivism see continued technological advancement as beneficial to society and the human condition. However, most scientists and engineers agree that the real choice lies in how we apply and use technology. As our understanding of how it affects us evolves, we will be able to make better decisions about the ways we interact with and use technology in our lives. This will help to ensure that it continues to advance in ways that benefit all of humanity. A good example of this is the ongoing work in creating artificial intelligence, which will allow machines to mimic human behavior and decision-making.