Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments.
Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone and the Internet have lessened barriers to communications, thus allowing humans to interact freely on a global scale. Not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. The invention of the printing press makes it possible for scientists as well as politicians to communicate their ideas with ease. But there is a down side to the reliance upon the computer and the various internet search engines; I refer to publications that are no longer being printed but finding a home via a link on the internet. Or the publications become a smaller version of its former self or the most drastic measure would be to cease publication entirely. Thereby causing many printing companies to either close down altogether or merge with another in an effort to keep people employed. At times social media is viewed as making things far too simple.
Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical effort in order to achieve some value. Tools and machines need not be material; virtual technology, such as computer software and business methods, falls under this definition of technology. The word “technology” can also be used to refer to a collection of techniques. In this context, it is the current state of humanity’s knowledge of how to combine resources to produce desired products, to solve problems, fulfill needs, or satisfy wants; including technical methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools and raw materials. “State-of-the-art technology” refers to the highest technology available. Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes culture. An example would be the rise of technology in the field of communication and a cyber-culture bringing forward the evolution of the internet (World Wide Web) and ever expanding changes to the computer as we know it. Today there are also many forms of communication via what is termed “Social Media.” I refer to applications such as Messenger, Chat, Skype, Classmates, Facebook, and Twitter amongst others. One of the most popular uses on the computer today is that of the blog and web-marketing, enabling us to share ideas, thoughts and even reach a wider audience to introduce new products , techniques, trends and services that might not be able to reach by any other means. And in many instances, can be done in real time. Technology has also helped in the advancement of space exploration, as well as innovations in the medical field such as open-heart surgery (using the DaVinci Robot), stem cell therapy and new medications and treatments. Modern technology increasingly relies on training and education — their designers, builders, maintainers, and users often require sophisticated general and specific training. Taken to extreme, technicism is the belief that humanity will ultimately be able to control the entirety of existence using technology. In other words, human beings will someday be able to master all problems and possibly even control the future using technology. This remains to be seen.
By the mid-1970’s, computer manufacturers sought to bring computers to general consumers. These minicomputers came complete with user-friendly software packages that offered even non-technical users an array of applications, most popularly word processing and spreadsheet programs. Pioneers in this field were Commodore, Radio Shack, International Business Machines (IBM) and Apple Computers. By the early 1980’s, video games such as Pac Man and home video games like Atari 2600 ignited consumer interest for more sophisticated, programmable home computers. I remember when I was younger we had an electric typewriter at home that I learned to type on. In offices at the time everyone used the typewriter and for correspondence carbon paper was used to keep a copy for the office files (unlike today when we can print out as many copies of a document that is desired). When I started working for the United States Government, we had the typewriter, mag-card machines and punch-card machines to do our work on. These latter two pieces of equipment could store typed material on to be retrieved and updated when necessary. In 1980 IBM introduced its personal computer (PC) for use in the home, office and schools. And we all received training on the use of the PC and thus the computer generation was born. The 1980’s saw an expansion in computer use in all three arenas as clones of the IBM PC made the personal computer even more affordable. The number of personal computers in use more than doubled from 2 million in 1981 to 5.5 million in 1982. Ten years later, 65 million PCs were being used. Computers continued their trend toward a smaller size, working their way down from desktop to laptop computers (which could fit inside a briefcase) to palmtop (able to fit inside a breast pocket). In direct competition with IBM’s PC was Apple’s Macintosh line, introduced in 1984. Notable for its user-friendly design, the Macintosh offered an operating system that allowed users to move screen icons instead of typing instructions. Users controlled the screen cursor using a mouse, a device that mimicked the movement of one’s hand on the computer screen.
Technology is ever evolving daily, over30 years ago, tools like the notebook, lap top, ultra books, did not even exist. Even something like the Nook or Kindle fire where you can read a book without even taking out of the library did not exist. Even the cell (or mobile) telephone was in its infancy. Many people today don’t even know what a typewriter is, except for what they might see in a museum or in books. There are other advances such as the television, record players (to play what was termed vinyl), 8-track players, and cassette tapes/players, CDs, VCR and DVDs. From print film cameras to the digital camera and movie camera to the cam-corder, all forms of technology are continuing to evolve and will continue to do so. I would venture to say that in the next 20 years the technology as we know it today will be vastly different.