Technology is simply the collective application of sciences, technologies, and skills in the creation of new products or services or in their accomplishment of previously determined goals, including scientific research. In business terms, technology is often referred to as the total amount of human knowledge and energy applied to the improvement of a particular system. In recent years there has been a proliferation of technology in almost every area of our life. Although technology has been necessary for progress in all areas of human endeavor, specific industries and areas of technological development are more likely to have developed advanced technology than others.
Throughout most of the twentieth century, most technological developments were driven by necessity rather than by design. For example, the development of automobiles was a result of accumulated knowledge about how best to move automobiles from place to place. Similarly, the invention of the sewing machine, the electric shaver, and the television set were also the result of technological developments due to the increased ability of humans to produce and experience information. In many cases, technological development is driven by a desire to overcome a perceived deficiency in human technology. Thus, whereas some societies have attempted to build entire civilizations around the use of technology, other societies view technological development as a basic part of their culture.
Technological progress is viewed by some as a symbol of the progress of the human condition. The twentieth century saw major strides in many fields, most notable among these being the discovery of electricity. In fact, the telephone was invented just as the first electric engine was created. Although the electrical industry has undergone several downturns over the past few years, many people still associate the telephone, television, and other technologies with progress. In this way, a technician can be seen as having a profound effect on the way that individuals perceive and interpret the world around them.
Technicism is a term that is related to those technological developments that are considered to be beyond the capabilities of man. Examples of such technological developments include the Wright brothers’ flight, the invention of the automobile, and the Internet. In general, technicism is viewed as a rejection of authority and the rule of law. In many ways, those who embrace technician do so because they wish to solve problems using new and innovative technology. However, others use technician to justify the existing authority structure.
One way that technologists justify the existence of technological systems is to claim that such systems offer people a sense of control over the forces of nature. In the past, people were forced to develop complicated means of acquiring food and other raw materials, creating clothing, or sheltering themselves. With the advent of simple tools, people were able to create things that were previously thought to be impossible. Thus, technologists claim that such technologies provide people with an opportunity to control the forces of nature and to manipulate the environment to their benefit.
Another way that technologists use technology to justify their own existence is by claiming that such technologies offer people a way to solve problems through technology. This may be true in some regards. For instance, some forms of medical technology such as x-ray machines and robotic surgical operations may offer people an opportunity to deal with physical pain and to adjust their physical parameters. While it may not be possible for every person to master such techniques, it is certainly possible for such technologically advanced systems to help people deal with physical pain and other issues.
However, there is little evidence to suggest that technological developments throughout the course of human history offer people any real control or benefit. For example, most people alive in prehistoric times could only make use of simple tools to procure food, protect themselves from predators, or modify their bodies in order to survive. These technological developments are truly nothing more than artifacts of the past. And while it is possible to construct firecrackers, bows and arrows, and other modern-day necessities of a modern day hunter, it is also possible to simply look to the Paleolithic era for answers. After all, even stone tooled human beings could only survive and thrive when there were no computers or other technological developments to exploit the power of fire and other raw materials.
In short, technological developments in early humans may have allowed them to develop complex modes of communication, but these advancements did not necessarily create the complexity and sophistication of the Paleolithic Age. It is not likely, for example, that the development of writing would have become widespread and sophisticated enough to create written records if it had not been discovered by the earliest humans. Similarly, it is not likely that the widespread use of metals would have become common among the early humans if it weren’t for the development of fire. As it stands, technological developments in early humans may simply have served to boost their survival rates and to simplify their lives.