What is Technology?
One of the most important staples of contemporary culture is the prevalence of and reliance on technology. Its uses may be both beneficial and detrimental, as history has shown once and again. Nevertheless, what does this word actually mean? Its common usage only dates to two hundred years ago, while technology itself has existed since prehistoric times. In addition, many people could confuse the concept with science or engineering. Nevertheless, contemporarily, one could define technology as the group of tools and techniques that allow a practical manipulation of nature to modify its value.
One of the most important and essential aspects of humans is their ability and constant search to modify nature. Technology has existed since before prehistoric times; in fact, this denomination is only possible because the technology to write existed. Due to society’s emphasis on what is new and improved, while many people could think that technology is something that has existed since relatively recently, hunting tools and the wheel were two of the first and most important early technological developments.
Two other driving forces in Western culture are also related to this concept; both science and engineering are easily confused with technology. Modern science looks to explain and predict nature through the scientific method, which is based on experimentation. The knowledge that this creates helps the development of the tools and techniques that can modify nature: technology. On the other hand, engineering aims towards the perfection of processes and designs; thus, it is also very important for technology as it allows of its advancement. This limits the concept of technology, as it does not include neither knowledge nor design. Even though, etymologically, technology is the knowledge of art or competence, the differentiation that can be made with respect to science clears the former of its associations with knowledge that are in the roots of the word. Therefore, it is important to note that concepts should be defined including the place in time where it is being used: the meaning of a word changes through time, and its etymological root may not correspond exactly to its contemporary usage.
As such, one may define technology as the group of tools and techniques that allow a practical manipulation of nature to modify its value. Technology may be thought of as objects and processes that benefit humanity by the transformation of what nature provides. The attractiveness that these methods give to the material that they are made from makes them enter into the world consciousness and market. As such, technology is very prized in society and has helped it grow. Nevertheless, it also has downsides, as can be seen by the many atrocities that technology has made possible. As weapons have become more destructive, they have taken many more lives than before. Some philosophers also believe that the contemporary dependence on technological devices is detrimental to human, as it alienates them from their core.
In conclusion, technology, an essential component of human life, allows for the transformation of nature to fit human needs. Throughout history, many tools and techniques have been developed; while many believe that technology is relatively new, artifacts such as hunting tools and the wheel are prehistoric. The differentiation of this concept with respect to science and engineering allows for its specification, limiting knowledge and design from it. Technology includes objects and methods that permit the transformation of nature so that it may hold a higher human value. Even though what is done with this powerful weapon enters the realm of philosophy, it should also be studied as much harm can be done with technology.