Technology

A steam turbine with the case opened. Such turbines produce most of the electricity used today. Electricity consumption and living standards are highly correlated.[1]

Technology is the result of accumulated knowledge and application of skills, methods, and processes used in industrial production and scientific research. Technology is embedded in the operation of all machines, with or without detailed knowledge of their function, for the intended purpose of an organization. The technologies of society consist of what is known as systems. Systems operate by obtaining an input, altering this input through what is known as a process, and then producing an outcome that achieves the intended purpose of the system.

The earliest and simplest form of technology is the development of knowledge that leads to the application of basic tools. The prehistoric invention of shaped stone tools and the discovery of how to control fire increased the sources of food that were available to human beings. The invention of the wheel led to the travelling technologies that helped humans to further increase the yield of food production, travel in less time, and exchange information and raw materials faster. Humanity then progressed to the development of the printing press, the telephone, the computer, and then the Internet.

While technological advances have helped economies develop and create the rise of a leisure class, many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and the depletion of natural resources from the Earth's environment. As a consequence, philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology and whether technology improves or worsens the human condition. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology by stating that technology harms the environment and destroys human relationships. While this is the case, ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.

While innovations have always influenced the values of a society and have raised new questions in the ethics of technology, the advancement of technology itself has also led to the pursuit of new solutions for the previously discussed concerns of technological advancement. For example, upcoming technology involves renewable resources being used in transportation, allowing humans to travel in space, for technology itself to become more affordable and reliable, and for increased automation.

  1. ^ Electricity in economic growth : a report. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press. 1986. doi:10.17226/900. ISBN 978-0-309-03677-1. OCLC 45734143.

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