A steam turbine with the case opened, an example of energy technology

Technologies are artifacts made through a systematic application of knowledge and used to reach practical goals.[1]: 117 [2] They are widely used in medicine, science, industry, communication, transportation, and daily life. Technologies include physical objects like utensils or machines, as well as intangible tools like software.

Many technological advancements have led to societal changes. The earliest known technology is the stone tool, used in the prehistoric era,[3] followed by fire use, which contributed to the growth of the human brain and the development of language in the Ice Age.[4] The invention of the wheel in the Bronze Age enabled wider travel and the creation of more complex machines.[5] Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet have lowered communication barriers and ushered in the knowledge economy.

While technology contributes to economic development and human prosperity, it can also have negative impacts like pollution or resource depletion, or cause social harms like technological unemployment caused by automation.[6] As a result, philosophical and political debates have arisen over the role and use of technology, the ethics of technology, and the mitigation of technology's potential downsides.[7] Historical and contemporary movements like neo-Luddism and anarcho-primitivism criticize technology's pervasiveness,[8] while adherents to transhumanism and techno-progressivism actively support technological change, viewing it as emancipatory.[9] Many negative impacts of technology can be mitigated through technological innovations like renewable energy in transportation and industry,[10] genetically modified crops to address soil depletion,[11] and space exploration to mitigate global catastrophic risks.[12]

  1. ^ Salomon, Jean‐Jacques (1 January 1984). "What is technology? The issue of its origins and definitions". History and Technology. 1 (2): 113–156. doi:10.1080/07341518408581618. ISSN 0734-1512.
  2. ^ Mitcham, C. (15 October 1994). Thinking Through Technology: The Path Between Engineering and Philosophy. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-53198-4.
  3. ^ The British Museum. "Our earliest technology?". Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  4. ^ Gowlett, J. A. J. (5 June 2016). "The discovery of fire by humans: a long and convoluted process". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 371 (1696): 20150164. doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0164. PMC 4874402. PMID 27216521.
  5. ^ Rao, J. S. (2011). History of Rotating Machinery Dynamics. History of Mechanism and Machine Science. Vol. 20. Springer Dordrecht. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-1165-5. ISBN 978-94-007-1164-8.
  6. ^ Jennifer Okafor (12 April 2020). "Negative Impact of Technology on the Environment". TRVST. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  7. ^ de Vries, M. J.; Verkerk, M. J.; Hoogland, J.; van der Stoep, J. (2015). Philosophy of Technology : An Introduction for Technology and Business Students. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781317445715. OCLC 907132694.
  8. ^ Gardenier, M. (7 October 2016). "The "anti-tech" movement, between anarcho-primitivism and the neo-luddite". Sociétés. n° 131 (1): 97–106. doi:10.3917/soc.131.0097. ISSN 0765-3697.
  9. ^ Lee, N. (2019). Lee, Newton (ed.). The Transhumanism Handbook. Cham: Springer Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-16920-6. ISBN 9783030169190. S2CID 195791313.
  10. ^ Haščič, I.; Johnstone, N.; Watson, F.; Kaminker, C. (15 December 2010). "Climate Policy and Technological Innovation and Transfer: An Overview of Trends and Recent Empirical Results". OECD Working Papers. OECD Environment Working Papers. doi:10.1787/5km33bnggcd0-en.
  11. ^ Grunewald, W.; Bury, J. (2015). The GMO Revolution. LannooCampus Publishers. ISBN 9789401432191.
  12. ^ Gottlieb, J. (1 May 2022). "Discounting, Buck-Passing, and Existential Risk Mitigation: The Case of Space Colonization". Space Policy. 60: 101486. Bibcode:2022SpPol..6001486G. doi:10.1016/j.spacepol.2022.101486. ISSN 0265-9646. S2CID 247718992.

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