The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry, is called as technology.
The term technology is a combination of the Greek technē, “art, craft,” with logos, “word, speech,” meant in Greece a discourse on the arts, both fine and applied. It was used to mean a discussion of the applied arts only, and gradually these arts themselves came to be the object of the designation in the 17th century in English.
A growing range of means, processes, ideas, tools and machines etc were incorporated in technology by the early 20th century.
The technological activity in the 20th century incorporated following activities-
• Different objects like tools, machines, instruments, weapons, and appliances etc.
• The know -how behind the new innovations
• Activities, skills, procedures, and methods
• New innovations that were developed due to sociological needs
• Socio-technical developments
By mid-century, technology was defined as “the means or activity by which man seeks to change or manipulate his environment.”
Even such broad definitions were severely criticized by a number of learned people because they were of the opinion that a vast difference existed between scientific inquiry and technological activity.
The developments in modern times have reduced physical barriers to communication. It has facilitated humans to interact freely on global levels. The technology is useful for speedy development but all types of technologies are not used for peaceful purposes.
Developments of armaments and destructive weapons are some technological developments that can destroy life and the environment.
Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today’s global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class.
Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of Earth’s environment.
Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.
• Phases of technological developments
There are three phases of development of technology- invention, innovation and diffusion.
The invention is a process which incorporates wide range of ideas, material things, and human behaviour in new systematic ways.
Invention has three basic steps- recognition of a problem, assembling and manipulating the available information, acts of individual insight, and the process of critical revision.
The innovation is something original, new, and important in whatever field that breaks in to a market or society. It is the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, in-articulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. The spread of innovations among potential users is called as diffusion.