What Is Technology?

Technology is the practice of using scientific knowledge to create tools and systems that improve our lives. In the most specific sense, it refers to machines, such as computers and cell phones, but it can also be applied to more abstract, human activities. For example, the word can be used to describe a system of governance or an art form.

When we think of technology today, we tend to focus on high-tech inventions like rockets, computers, and cell phones, but anthropologists have traced the concept back to our hominid ancestors’ first technological tools — stone tools, the controlled use of fire, and the wheel. It is a defining feature of human society that we create tools to make certain kinds of behavior easier or more effective. When a technology catches on, it can often exponentially scale the behavior that it makes possible, for better or worse. For instance, TVs have dramatically increased the number of people zoning out in front of them, hypnotized by the constant visual stimulation. Social media websites have made it much easier for people to spend time in one-way, parasocial relationships.

All the ways we use technology in our daily lives fall under the umbrella term “Technology.” From a professional standpoint, most tech occupations revolve around IT support, cybersecurity, network infrastructure and computer systems design. And with the world currently inundated with devices that are connected to the Internet, many companies need tech-savvy workers to help maintain and protect the technologies they depend on for work.