Defining Technology: Find the Best Explanation Here

Technology is a term that is often used but not always defined clearly. Different scholars and experts have provided various definitions of technology throughout history.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines technology as the practical application of knowledge in a specific area, a capability given by the practical application of knowledge, and the specialized aspects of a particular field. Similarly, the Oxford Dictionary defines technology as applying scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.

Other scholars like Emmanuel G. Mesthene, John Kenneth Galbraith, Thomas P. Hughes, and W. Brian Arthur have also offered their own definitions of technology, emphasizing its role in practical purposes and problem-solving. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation describes technology as the application of science, engineering, and industrial organization to create a human-built world.

Overall, technology can be understood as the application of conceptual knowledge for achieving practical goals, encompassing both tangible tools and intangible systems or processes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Technology is the practical application of knowledge to achieve practical goals.
  • Definitions of technology vary among scholars and experts but emphasize problem-solving and practical purposes.
  • Technology encompasses both tangible tools and intangible systems or processes.

Merriam-Webster and Oxford Dictionary Definitions

The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides two main definitions of technology. The first definition emphasizes the practical application of knowledge in a specific area and the capabilities derived from the application of knowledge.

The second definition highlights the manner in which a task is accomplished, using technical processes, methods, or knowledge.

On the other hand, the Oxford dictionary defines technology as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, with a focus on its use in industry.

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Both definitions indicate that technology involves the application of knowledge for practical aims and can encompass various fields and processes.

Definitions from Experts and Scholars

When it comes to defining technology, experts and scholars have provided their unique insights.

These definitions shed light on the practical nature of technology, its role in problem-solving, and its reliance on human ingenuity and creativity.

Emmanuel G. Mesthene defines technology as the organization of knowledge for the achievement of practical purposes.

John Kenneth Galbraith describes technology as the systematic application of scientific or organized knowledge to practical tasks.

Thomas P. Hughes characterizes technology as a complex and messy concept that is difficult to define and fully understand. He emphasizes its involvement of human creativity and ingenuity.

W. Brian Arthur presents multiple conceptions of technology. He sees it as a means to fulfill human purposes, an assemblage of practices and components, and the entire collection of devices and engineering practices available to a culture.

These expert definitions highlight that technology is not just about gadgets or machines; it encompasses knowledge organization and human-driven problem-solving processes.

It reflects our ability to create solutions and achieve practical goals by applying scientific or organized knowledge.

The Practical Nature of Technology

Technology is intrinsically practical, as it aims to address real-world challenges and improve our lives.

Whether it’s developing new medical treatments, creating efficient transportation systems, or optimizing industrial processes, technology is driven by the desire to solve problems and make our lives easier.

Human Ingenuity and Creativity

At the core of technology lies human ingenuity and creativity. We can develop novel ideas, innovate, and think outside the box that drives technological progress.

Whether it’s inventing new software algorithms, designing sustainable energy solutions, or building cutting-edge machines, human creativity is the catalyst for technological advancements.

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Technology as Problem-Solving

Technology’s purpose is intrinsically tied to problem-solving. By leveraging scientific knowledge, practical skills, and inventive thinking, technology offers solutions to various challenges and improves our ability to overcome obstacles.

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Whether it’s developing new technologies for renewable energy, optimizing manufacturing processes, or enhancing communication systems, technology empowers us to tackle complex problems and drive positive change.

expert definitions of technology
Emmanuel G. MestheneThe organization of knowledge for the achievement of practical purposes
John Kenneth GalbraithThe systematic application of scientific or organized knowledge to practical tasks
Thomas P. HughesIt is a complex and messy concept involving human creativity and ingenuity
W. Brian ArthurA means to fulfill human purposes, an assemblage of practices and components, and the entire collection of devices and engineering practices available to a culture

Impact of Technology on Society

Technology has profoundly impacted society, shaping our lives in both positive and negative ways.

The constant evolution of technology and its widespread adoption have transformed various aspects of our daily lives, from how we communicate to how we work and access information.

Let’s explore the social and economic impacts and the positive and negative effects technology has had on society.

One of the major positive impacts of technology is the advancement it has brought to various fields, such as communication, transportation, and healthcare.

With the development of smartphones, email, and social media platforms, we can now connect with people worldwide with just a few taps.

This improved communication has undoubtedly made the world smaller and more connected.

Technological advances have also revolutionized transportation, making it faster, safer, and more efficient.

These innovations have transformed how we travel and explore the world, from airplanes and high-speed trains to electric vehicles and ride-sharing services.

“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” – Bill Gates

Furthermore, technology has greatly improved healthcare outcomes. Medical advancements and technology integration have led to more accurate diagnoses, advanced treatment options, and improved patient care.

Telemedicine and remote monitoring systems have made healthcare more accessible and convenient, especially for those in remote or underserved areas.

However, alongside these positive impacts, there are also negative effects associated with technology. One such concern is the environmental impact.

The production, use, and disposal of electronic devices contribute to pollution and the depletion of natural resources.

Efforts are being made to develop sustainable technologies and promote responsible consumption and disposal practices.

Another significant impact of technology is its effect on the job market. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have displaced certain jobs, creating a need for reskilling and adaptation.

While technology has created new job opportunities, there is a growing concern about the increasing inequality and job polarization resulting from these advancements.

Positive and Negative Effects of Technology

Positive EffectsNegative Effects
Improved communication and connectivityEnvironmental impact and resource depletion
Efficient transportation and travelDisruption of job markets through automation
Advancements in healthcareEthical concerns surrounding technology use
Increased access to informationPrivacy and security risks

Technology’s positive and negative effects have sparked discussions and debates regarding its ethical considerations and the need for regulations to address potential risks.

Striking a balance between harnessing the benefits of technology and minimizing its detrimental effects is a challenge that society faces.

As technology advances at an unprecedented pace, individuals, governments, and organizations need to consider and manage its social and economic impacts on society.

By understanding and addressing the positive and negative effects, we can work towards maximizing the benefits of technology while minimizing its drawbacks.

Historical Development of Technology

The history of technology stretches back to prehistoric times when early humans began to make significant advancements through observation, trial, and error.

This evolution of technology has shaped the course of human history, with each development paving the way for discoveries and innovations.

One of the earliest technological advancements was the creation of stone tools. Through experimentation, early humans learned how to shape and sharpen stones for various purposes, such as hunting and cutting.

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These stone tools were crucial for survival and marked a significant milestone in the development of technology.

“Stone tools were the first step in harnessing the power of technology. They allowed early humans to adapt to their environment and enhance their ability to procure food and resources.”

Another groundbreaking advancement was the control of fire. The ability to create and control fire not only provided warmth and protection but also led to the cooking of food.

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Cooking transformed the nutritional value of food and enabled early humans to expand into colder regions.

The invention of the wheel was a game-changer for trade and transportation. Wheels allowed for the efficient movement of goods and people, resulting in the growth of civilizations and establishing trade networks.

This revolutionized the way societies interacted and paved the way for globalization.

“The invention of the wheel played a vital role in the advancement of trade and transportation, enabling the exchange of goods and ideas across vast distances.”

Later developments, such as the printing press and the internet, ushered in a new communication and knowledge-sharing era. The printing press revolutionized the dissemination of information, making books and knowledge more accessible to the masses.

Similarly, the internet connected the world like never before, enabling instant communication, access to information, and the birth of the digital age.

history of technology
Technological AdvancementSignificancePeriod
Stone ToolsEnhanced hunting, cutting, and survivalPrehistoric times
Control of FireExpanded into colder regions and improved food preparationPrehistoric times
Invention of the WheelRevolutionized trade and transportationAncient civilizations and beyond
Printing PressTransformed information dissemination and increased literacy15th century
InternetConnected the world and enabled digital communication and knowledge sharing20th century and beyond

Cultural and Regional Perspectives on Technology

Different cultures and regions have made significant contributions to technology development throughout history.

Ancient civilizations like Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome had unique technological advancements, showcasing technological progress’s diverse and complex nature and its influence on specific societies.

“Technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.”
– George Couros

In ancient Egypt, the use of ancient technology can be seen in their utilization of the annual flooding of the Nile to irrigate their lands and support agricultural practices. This innovative method allowed the Egyptians to thrive in an otherwise arid environment.

Meanwhile, Indian technology during ancient times was characterized by remarkable achievements in various fields. The invention of zero and the decimal system revolutionized mathematics, while the development of metallurgical techniques led to advancements in metalworking, especially in producing high-quality steel.

On the other hand, Chinese technology was characterized by inventions that have had a lasting impact on the world.

The invention of paper, printing techniques, and gunpowder all originated in ancient China, marking significant milestones in the history of human civilization.

Greek and Roman civilizations indelibly impacted architectural, engineering, and military technologies. The Greeks introduced important concepts such as democracy, philosophy, and theater.

The Romans were pioneers in engineering and built impressive structures like aqueducts, roads, and bridges that still inspire awe today.

Innovations from Ancient Civilizations

The table below summarizes some of the key technological advancements from these ancient civilizations:

CivilizationTechnological Advancements
EgyptAdvanced irrigation systems, construction techniques (pyramids)
IndiaInvention of zero and the decimal system, advanced metallurgy
ChinaInvention of paper, printing techniques, gunpowder
GreeceArchitectural marvels (Parthenon), theater, philosophy
RomeAqueducts, roads, bridges, advanced military technology

These cultural and regional perspectives emphasize how technology has evolved uniquely across various societies, contributing to the rich tapestry of human innovation.

ancient technology

The information age has ushered in a new era of accessibility and knowledge.

With just a click of a button, we can access vast amounts of information and connect with people from all corners of the globe. This has opened up endless opportunities for learning, innovation, and collaboration.

In the words of Steve Jobs, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

The Industrial Revolution also played a pivotal role in shaping modern life. By harnessing the power of machinery and mass production, technology brought about significant manufacturing, transportation, and economic development advancements.

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It propelled societies forward, creating new jobs and improving living standards.

The Impact on Everyday Life

Technology is not just limited to personal devices and gadgets. It permeates all aspects of society, from how we work to the infrastructure supporting our cities.

It has transformed industries such as healthcare, where technological innovations have led to breakthrough treatments, improved diagnostics, and enhanced patient care.

Additionally, technology has revolutionized transportation, making it faster, safer, and more efficient.

These advancements have reshaped how we travel and commute, from self-driving cars to high-speed trains, making the world more accessible and interconnected.

The impact of technology on everyday life is vast and ever-evolving. It has changed how we shop, communicate, entertain ourselves, and find love.

With the click of a button, we can order groceries, stream movies, and connect with friends and family across the globe.

Future Innovations

The pace of technological innovation shows no signs of slowing down. As we embrace the digital age, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain are poised to reshape our world once again.

These innovations hold the potential to revolutionize industries, solve complex problems, and drive economic growth.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. It is crucial to approach these advancements thoughtfully, considering their ethical implications, privacy concerns, and societal impacts.

As technology continues to evolve, we must harness its potential for the greater good, ensuring that it benefits all and creates a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Technological InnovationsImpact on Everyday Life
Smartphones and mobile applicationsInstant communication, access to information, and convenience
Internet of Things (IoT)Smart homes, connected devices, and automation
Artificial intelligence and machine learningImproved decision-making, personalized recommendations, and automation
Self-driving cars and autonomous vehiclesSafe and efficient transportation, reduced accidents, and traffic congestion
3D printingCustom manufacturing, prototyping, and medical advancements


Technology is a complex and multifaceted concept that has evolved throughout history.

The definitions provided by experts and scholars highlight its practical nature, problem-solving abilities, and impact on society.

Understanding technology is crucial in navigating the modern world and making informed decisions about its use and implications.

By exploring the historical development, cultural perspectives, and role of technology in everyday life, you can comprehensively understand this ever-evolving field.

Technology has shaped the course of human history, from the invention of stone tools to the development of the internet.

Different cultures and regions have contributed to its progress, showcasing technological advancements’ diverse and complex nature.

In the modern era, technology plays an integral role in everyday life. Technological innovations have transformed industries from telecommunication to healthcare and revolutionized how we communicate and access information.

Understanding technology empowers you to harness its potential for positive impact and navigate potential challenges.

Overall, technology is a powerful force that influences society in various ways. By grasping its definitions, historical context, and role in everyday life, you can better appreciate its importance and make informed decisions about its use.

Understanding technology is essential for personal and professional success in today’s rapidly evolving world.


What is the definition of technology?

Technology refers to the practical application of knowledge in a specific area and the capabilities derived from this application. It involves the use of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.

How do Merriam-Webster and Oxford define technology?

According to Merriam-Webster, technology is the practical application of knowledge and the manner in which a task is accomplished using technical processes or knowledge. Oxford defines technology as applying scientific knowledge for practical purposes, focusing on its use in industry.

How do experts and scholars define technology?

Experts and scholars provide various definitions of technology. They describe it as the organization of knowledge for achieving practical purposes, the systematic application of scientific or organized knowledge to practical tasks, a messy and complex concept involving human creativity and ingenuity, and the collection of devices and engineering practices available to a culture.

What is the impact of technology on society?

Technology has both positive and negative impacts on society. It has led to advancements in communication, transportation, healthcare, and the creation of new products and services. However, it can also contribute to environmental pollution, resource depletion, job market disruption, and ethical debates.

What is the historical development of technology?

The development of technology dates back to prehistoric times, where early humans created tools through observation and trial and error. Over time, technological advancements such as the control of fire, the invention of the wheel, and the invention of the printing press have shaped human history.

What are the cultural and regional perspectives on technology?

Ancient civilizations like Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome all made unique technological advancements. Egyptians used the power of the annual flooding of the Nile for irrigation, while the Greeks and Romans contributed to architecture, engineering, and military technology.

What is the role of technology in modern life?

Technology plays an integral role in everyday life, transforming industries like telecommunications, transportation, and healthcare. The information age, marked by the use of computers and the internet, has revolutionized communication and access to information. The industrial revolution also significantly impacted the use of technology for mass production and economic development.

Why is it important to understand technology?

Understanding technology is crucial for navigating the modern world and making informed decisions about its use and implications. It helps individuals comprehend the practical nature of technology, its problem-solving abilities, and impact on various aspects of society.

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With years of experience in the tech industry, Mark is not just a writer but a storyteller who brings the world of technology to life. His passion for demystifying the intricacies of the digital realm sets apart as a platform where accessibility meets expertise.

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