Technology is an umbrella term for the use of techniques, methods, skills and processes to produce products or services. Often, when people hear the word “technology,” they picture a lot of gadgets or tools that we use in our everyday lives.
It is not a neutral word, and there are many different opinions about what the exact meaning of technology is. Ultimately, it is all about human curiosity and foresight, and how they apply this to organised tasks that meet goals.
The way we make and use tools, and the things that have been made through tool-making is an intrinsic part of our DNA as human beings. Similarly, the technology that is developed and used in space travel and exploration is driven by human interest and foresight, as well as scientific knowledge and the ability to use it effectively.
A key distinction in the scholarly literature is between those who believe that technology is a path towards an end, and those who believe that it must be purposive or instrumental. The former, Schatzberg argues, adopts the language of means and ends; the latter, on the other hand, sees technology as an ongoing attempt to bring the world closer to what the technologist wants it to be.
This difference is important because the first approach tends to see technology as a means to an end, whereas the second one views it as a path towards an end that is not formally determined, and therefore cannot be calculated by means of mathematical equations.
When the path toward an end is not formally determined, there are many possibilities, and those possibilities are always open. This is where the critical juncture between science and technology lies, as the technologist decides which of those possibilities will actually become reality in the future.
In the past, classrooms were relatively isolated and collaboration was limited to other students in the same building or state. Today, with the help of technology, students can communicate and collaborate with students in other states via e-mail, blogs, websites or videoconferencing.
They can also save their work online, instead of having to write down or create posters of what they have done, and keep their projects and research together in digital form. This allows them to be fully collaborative and share their work with others who can also benefit from it, saving time and effort.
The development of technology has made it easier for individuals to live a more comfortable life. With the help of tablets, smartphones and smartwatches, it is now easier for humans to perform complex tasks such as shopping, socialising, booking travel or tracking a health condition without ever leaving their homes.
Technology has also helped us to make a more sustainable lifestyle, with the help of energy-efficient lighting and heating, water conservation and recycling. We can now grow food in our backyards and have access to renewable energy sources.
Lastly, we can have the opportunity to be involved in public policy issues that involve a technological component, such as how to regulate Internet usage or how to protect privacy in the age of digital information. As a citizen of a democratic society, it is our duty to be involved in these decisions. We can do this through our political, legal or ethical activities.