What Is Technology?


Technology is a collection of tools and processes that help people communicate, share data, and work together. It also allows us to process information more quickly and make accurate decisions. Today, technology is being used to help business owners make informed decisions about their marketing strategies and sales operations. In addition, it can be used to help employees communicate with each other and customers.

Arthur is making a point about the way we tend to talk about technology: We often think of it as a series of linear steps, moving from one scientific discovery to the next. But it’s much more complicated than that. Science, he says, focuses on necessity and universality; technology deals with contingencies and specificities.

Any engineering design operates within constraints that must be considered: economic (only so much money can be spent on this project), political (local and national laws and regulations), social (disadvantages to certain groups of people, risk to future generations), ecological (likely disruption of the natural environment), ethical (disadvantages to human life). Reaching a reasonable compromise among these is not easy.

Once a new technology catches on, it tends to scale up the behavior that it facilitates. When TVs became popular in America, they made it easier for people to zonk out in front of them, hypnotized by their constant visual stimulation; when online dating sites went mainstream, they increased the prevalence of one-way parasocial relationships. The same is true for many other types of technology.