Technology is a collection of methods used by people to combine raw materials, solve problems and fulfill needs and wants. It includes technical skills, processes and techniques, tools, equipment and systems. Technology has significantly influenced humanity’s course of history, changing the way we live and interact with each other.
Unlike science, which tends towards generalization and universality, technology is more concerned with contingencies and specificity. It focuses on designing the future based on scientific understanding of the present world. It has often led to positive side effects, such as improved sanitation and preventive medicine that increased life expectancy; the invention of bows and arrows and gunpowder that altered warfare; and the Covid-19 vaccine that prevented over 140,000 deaths and 3 million infections.
In addition to improving living conditions, technology also increases production and efficiency in business environments. It allows businesses to streamline and automate processes, allowing for greater output with less labor. It has made communication easier, improved inventory management and order tracking, reduced waste and increased connectivity with customers and suppliers.
Most technologies have associated costs, however. The design process is usually influenced by the need to maintain or reduce operating costs and energy consumption. The need to train personnel in the use and maintenance of the technology may also be a factor in its design. Likewise, the need to update software can be an expense. Keeping software updated helps to reduce security risks and improve performance.