Throughout history, technology has changed the way society works. It has led to a wide range of social and economic benefits. It has also had negative effects. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products. Technology has also been used for destructive purposes.
Understanding technology requires that we understand what it is designed to do, how it works, and how it actually is used. New technologies create new ethical and social issues. Keeping track of the latest technology can be expensive. The biggest tech companies have the resources to implement global changes. They also challenge existing governance structures.
Technology has been a major source of jobs and revenue for many nations. Newer technologies are designed to enhance productivity and enable employees to work more efficiently. However, many of these innovations also create forces of change that can come from unexpected places.
A common misconception is that technology is merely an applied science. It is important to understand technology because it is a basic phenomenon of modern society. Technology is important because of its role in the economy and culture. However, it is important to recognize that it is a complex entity.
Philosophical reflection on technology increased significantly during the Renaissance. Francis Bacon was a pioneer in this field. His New Atlantis (1627) expressed a positive view of technology.
The Renaissance also produced new theories of science, including the idea of the four causes of nature. This doctrine is still used in modern discussions of the metaphysics of artifacts.