Technology – the application of knowledge to achieve practical goals in a reproducible way
Technological innovations are often governed by social and economic forces that influence how people use and react to them. These factors include free-market forces, consumer acceptance, patent laws, media attention, risk capital, local and national regulations, economic competition, tax incentives, and scientific discoveries.
Optimal designs strike reasonable compromises among these constraints and, in particular, take into account personal and social values. These values may range from a concern for minimizing disadvantages to individuals to preserving the environment.
The design of a new technology, such as a computer system, takes into account the resources and energy it will require for construction and operation as well as its disposal after it is no longer needed. This includes the materials it uses, the tools and expertise to manufacture it, and the people who will sell, operate, maintain, and repair it.
Incremental technological innovation focuses on improving the already existing technological aspect of a product or service, for example by upgrading the operating system to a newer version or releasing security patches. These smaller innovations can have a significant impact on a company’s ability to compete successfully.
In addition, incremental technologies can reduce the costs of operations and maintenance. This can help an organization regain control of expenses and be more profitable.
Ultimately, technology is a social enterprise that includes research, design, manufacturing, management, labor, marketing, and maintenance. It also has a complex set of social consequences and ethical issues.