Technology is the combination of any human techniques, skills, systems, methods, or procedures used in the creation of goods and services or in the achievement of specific goals, for example scientific research. The term is generally used to refer to the entire range of human interaction and the resulting technologies. The word technology is often applied to identify specific processes or machines, such as telecommunications and information systems. Technological change is thus a broad term that can include the impact of science and technology on society, or the ability of human knowledge to improve upon the basic principles of the existing science and technology. The definition of technology is extremely vague and depends entirely on the situation.
Technological change can be rapid and nearly instantaneous, or it can be slow, gradual, and more difficult to measure. Examples of sudden and overwhelming changes are those related to computer sciences, especially artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and quantum computing. On the other hand, gradual and more logical change occurs over time as a result of the accumulation of scientific knowledge and technology applied to the different fields of engineering. Examples include improvements in agricultural and industrial practices, electrical engineering, communications, mechanical engineering, and information technology. Technological change can also be the product of economic development, culture, and political systems, and can therefore vary by region, country, and even between cities and nations.
Technological change has been profound in human history, extending back to the earliest forms of spoken communication. One of the biggest examples of this is the invention of fire. Technology has sometimes threatened to replace human presence completely, as in the case of nuclear weapons. Other forms of technological systems have brought a degree of control over nature, as in the practice of genetic engineering. While genetic engineering can, for example, provide the means for creating new types of crops that are better suited to a local climate, it has also led to an increased level of competition among farmers for the harvest market.
Many experts believe that there will be significant challenges ahead because of the pace of technological change. They foresee the possibility, for example, that genetic engineering may lead to increased levels of crime as genetically altered crops become more difficult to harvest. The potential for abuse of genetic engineering is real, and the concerns are growing by the day. Concerns include the possibility that criminals could use modified seeds to produce super-soldered bees that are more powerful than normal bees; to cause an eco-related catastrophe; and to use modified organisms to bypass the window of traditional farming, thereby allowing them to use patented technologies.
Still, others are optimistic about the future of genetic engineering and other forms of technological innovation, especially as they have provided an effective way to create crops that are more suited to a local climate and soil conditions. In addition, some experts point out that the adoption of new technologies may actually help to solve some of the world’s most troubling environmental issues. For instance, the introduction of molecular refrigeration technology that allows plants to maintain their temperature at a more stable level may be one way that technology is helping to preserve the environment.
There is an enormous amount of information available on the Internet regarding a number of technology concepts and their applications. However, no single concept can be considered a surefire solution to many of society’s current problems. Still, it is important for the technology community to continue innovating and fostering new technologies. It is also vital for government agencies and other agencies that need new technologies to invest in research and development of those technologies. These endeavors will help make sure that these technologies become a reliable solution to the world’s most pressing environmental problems.