What is Technology?

Technology is the process by which humans modify nature to meet their needs and wants. Most people, however, think of technology in terms of its artifacts: computers and software, aircraft, pesticides, water-treatment plants, birth-control pills, and microwave ovens, to name a few. But technology is more than these tangible products.

Technology includes all of the infrastructure necessary for the design, manufacture, operation, and repair of technological artifacts, from corporate headquarters and engineering schools to manufacturing plants and maintenance facilities. The knowledge and processes used to create and to operate technological artifacts -- engineering know-how, manufacturing expertise, and various technical skills -- are equally important part of technology.

Technology is a product of engineering and science, the study of the natural world. Science has two parts: (1) a body of knowledge that has been accumulated over time and (2) a process-scientific inquiry-that generates knowledge about the natural world. Engineering, too, consists of a body of knowledge-in this case knowledge of the design and creation of human-made products-and a process for solving problems. Science aims to understand the "why" and "how" of nature, engineering seeks to shape the natural world to meet human needs and wants. Engineering, therefore, could be called "design under constraint," with science-the laws of nature-being one of a number of limiting factors engineers must take into account. Other constraints include cost, reliability, safety, environmental impact, ease of use, available human and material resources, manufacturability, government regulations, laws, and even politics. In short, technology necessarily involves science and engineering.

Source: http://www.nae.edu/nae/techlithome.nsf/weblinks/CTON-557R5V?OpenDocument

1. Define technology in ONE sentence.

2. Name some limiting factors engineers must take into account.

3. Name 2 synonyms used in the text for SCIENCE.

4. Name 3 important parts of technology.

5. Do you consider yourself to be "technologically literate"? To learn more about this concept click here.

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