What Is Technology?

Technology is a broad term that includes all the ways people use tools and machines to solve real-world problems. This could include everything from a simple tool like a crowbar to a more complex machine, such as a particle accelerator or space station. It can also refer to non-material technology, such as software or business methods.

Technology has a powerful effect on how we live. It has changed agriculture, medicine, warfare, commerce, communication, and many other aspects of human society. For example, it has helped to improve food production and health care; led to innovations in writing, banking, and computers; and made it possible for us to communicate globally with ease.

All technologies work within constraints, which must be identified and taken into account. The development of a new technology typically involves a step-by-step process, with each step validating the underlying ideas and checking them against reality. It also takes into account factors such as economics (only so much money is available for research), political considerations, social opposition, ecological risks, and the availability of materials for construction or operation.

The ultimate decision about which technological options will be adopted, paid for, marketed, and used usually rests with a wide range of individuals and organizations. They consider how useful the proposed technology will be, whether it fits with existing social and cultural values, what risks are involved, and how difficult or costly it will be to maintain, update, and replace.