Technology is one of the oldest fields of study. It is one that has been around for so many decades and continues to influence society in every area it touches. A lot of people think that technology is only found in technology firms, that is not true. Technology is anything and everything that have changed the way we do things. Technology changes how we live our lives and how we work. As such, the world has become a more technically advanced place.
Technological change is the result of human action and progress. Technological change therefore is nothing but the outcome of human activity, the development of new technological objects and the adoption of new technological procedures and practices. Technology is the total sum of human skills, techniques, and methods used in the achievement of goals, including scientific investigation or the application of technological objects. It is also inclusive of any changes that have occurred as a result of scientific and technological research and development. In other words, it is the total definition of all developments and innovations that have taken place throughout the history of human civilization.
The scope and impact of technological change are massive. The impact would be particularly significant if it had not taken place. For instance, since the industrial revolution in the 18th century, humans have been producing and marketing a huge variety of technologically advanced products and other apparatuses that have dramatically impacted the society in which they have been developed and used. This is a good example of how important technology is in society.
To give a brief overview, there are three broad approaches to technology. These are cultural evolution, systems approach, and information systems approach. Each of these has different theories and models of how technological systems engineering should be done, how they should be evaluated, and what consequences they should have for society. This is an opportunity for us to talk about this in the next lesson. We will see in chapter 4.
Cultural Evolution The first broad perspective of the meaning of technology is that it is defined by the broad selection of technological artifacts and activities. Cultural evolution gives rise to a set of values and beliefs about technology, human beings, and the society. Those who define technology may themselves be members of a cultural group whose cultural practices and values become part of their shared belief system. It is this shared cultural meaning and beliefs about technology that shape the definition of that technology. It is not just a matter of what technologies are used or developed, but also the social practices and the norms surrounding such use and development.
Systems Approach The second broad perspective of the meaning of technology is that it is defined by the consistency of technological systems over time. Those who apply the consensus definition of technology will see chapter 6 as having four elements. These elements are technology, human beings, society, and the technological system. The element of technology refers to the range of human endeavors that embrace technology. This list can include culture, science, medicine, education, etc.
Technological Systems The third perspective of the meaning of technology is that it is based on the consistency of technological systems over time. These systems are formal in nature and they include the technological system, the knowledge base, and the practices of the individuals who use the technology. It is important to note that the definition of the technical system is not inclusive of the definition of the technical language. As noted above, the definitions of tech-nology include an element of culture and human beings are included in this definition.
Summary The definition of technology has been viewed by many different experts over time. In order to see chapter 7 in which each of these definitions of technology are examined in detail it is helpful to first review the definitions in chapters 5 and 6. As noted in the overview of the six definitions, it is helpful to first review the definition of technical language. Finally, it is helpful to see the consensus definition for technical systems approach. Following these steps will help you understand the meaning of technology.