Technology is the application of knowledge to achieve a practical goal. It includes techniques, hardware, tools, and software.
In its most basic sense, technology is an activity that shapes culture. However, the term can also refer to a particular field of knowledge, such as the scientific method.
Technologists and philosophers have argued about whether and how technology changes the human condition. Some criticize it for its use in political oppression and war. Others point out its potential to improve the human condition.
New technologies often alter life across the globe in positive ways. Nonetheless, they can harm individuals, groups, and societies. Therefore, they need to meet a variety of requirements, including safety, utility, and usability.
Technology is a complex process that involves continuous change. This can make it difficult to define and implement clear standards for the technological landscape. Nevertheless, social, political, and legal tools can shape development of new technologies in beneficial directions.
Theorists of techno-progressivism believe that continued progress in the technology of the future will benefit society. However, they emphasize that new technologies must be used with care to protect the environment and minimize the risks to the human population.
Despite its advantages, technology is also criticized for its potential to destroy communities and impede social and economic growth. These criticisms have been expressed in dystopian literature such as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Critics of technology, known as technologists, argue that it is better to leave new technologies in the hands of governments, who are more qualified to address social problems. Technologists have also been criticized by anarcho-primitivism, a philosophy which views technology as an impediment to freedom and a form of oppression.