Technology refers to all forms of tools created to make life easier and more productive. It includes the techniques of shaping materials, knowledge of the properties and behavior of things and how to manipulate them, and practical understanding of the principles that make them work.
Like other aspects of a culture, such as language, rituals, values and commerce, technology influences and shapes a civilization. It also plays a crucial role in a society’s social hierarchy by providing access to different levels of prosperity and comfort. It can help to spread ideas and information, and it can also reinforce beliefs and assumptions about the world around us.
Today’s complex technologies often require extensive training and education to design, build, operate, maintain and use. They can have unforeseen side effects, including environmental damage and disruption of existing social hierarchies. These can be large-scale, such as the nuclear reactors and agriculture of the last century, or they can be small, such as a refrigerator’s unintended impact on food distribution systems.
Businesses often take advantage of advanced technology to stay competitive and deliver products and services that meet customer needs. For example, e-commerce websites enable customers to browse and purchase goods without having to visit a store. Online communication tools allow workers to collaborate with colleagues from different parts of the globe. And digital learning methods allow students to attend classes remotely and replay them if they are unable to make it to the classroom on time.