Technology is the combination of science and technologies applied in the development of new products or services, technological systems, or in the achievement of specific goals, for example, scientific research. Technological systems include the information systems that are employed in organizations and provide for the measurement and interpretation of data. Many of these systems have become the core elements of how organizations operate today. Examples include Information Technology Infrastructure (ITI), Computer Networking, Software Development, Internet Services, Wireless Information Management, Electronic Data Management, Web Service Capability, and Wireless Digital Systems.
Technological change is a broad term that covers many activities involving technology. Some examples include the application of new technologies to medicine, electronics, aerospace, communications, computer science, and other areas; the study of scientific knowledge; the utilization of new technologies in business, transportation, military, art, and other areas; and the training and development of new technologies. Technological change may be a result of societal, technological, or environmental factors. Technological change can also be a result of a reification or generalized process, resulting in new technologies.
Technological change can also occur because of scientific knowledge. Science generally makes progress by creating new knowledge or supporting older forms of knowledge. This process can have a profound effect on society. It has shaped the foundation of modern technology. The use of steamboat propulsion, radio, telephone, and television, for example, came from the accumulation of scientific knowledge that supported their operation.
Industrial arts, including manufacturing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and food and beverage engineering, are other arenas where technological systems have contributed to society. In the manufacturing sector, advancements in equipment and process technology has increased profitability and market share for manufacturers. It has also contributed to the quality and safety of products that enter the marketplace. Process engineering, for example, has contributed to improved product life-cycle management by improving production efficiency and decreasing waste.
Technological change can also impact human health and medical science. Technological innovations can be used to improve the quality of life through technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and bio-tech technology. Gene manipulation is one of the most prominent areas of focus in genetic engineering research. Other areas of interest in this arena are stem cell technology, which uses living cells for biotechnology projects; and nano science, which deal mainly with nanotechnology technologies. Medical science also uses many of these technological innovations to develop cures and treatments for a variety of diseases and conditions.
Technological change continues to impact our lives in many ways. As technology advances, ethical and legal considerations become more important. Concerns about genetically modified food, stem cell research, and nanotechnology are all now the subject of public debate. Understanding these key questions about technological change will help people make informed decisions about new technology.