What Is Technology?


Technology is the knowledge that helps people to make, use and understand the tools of human progress. It’s not just about computers or the internet; technology encompasses every tool that people have invented to make life easier and more comfortable. It includes the tools used to work with money (banking systems, payment apps), to communicate (social media, messaging apps) and even to travel (cars, boats and planes).

The word technology is often used synonymously with science. However, there are important differences between science and technology. Science is the reasoned study of phenomena, aimed at discovering enduring principles among elements of the natural world. Engineering, on the other hand, is a goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems that exploit natural phenomena for practical human ends. It often draws upon scientific, mathematical, linguistic and historical knowledge.

A key feature of technology is that it brings the world closer to the way we wish it to be. This is why many technologists see their work as problem-solving. But defining the problem is an active process that precedes the deliberation of possible means to achieve it.

As a result, when a piece of technology becomes popular, it tends to exponentially scale the type of behavior that it makes easy. When TVs became widespread, for example, they made it easy to sit and zonk out in front of them, hypnotized by constant visual stimulation. When social media sites became common, they scaled the ease of one-way parasocial relationships.