The Nature of Technology


For most of human history, technology was mainly the province of craftsmen who passed their know-how down from generation to generation, gradually improving designs, and adding new techniques and materials. By the beginning of the twentieth century, technology had become a large-scale enterprise that depended on large stores of knowledge and know-how, too much for any one person to master. Large organizations were now required for the development, manufacture, and operation of new technologies. Complex networks of interdependent technologies were developed, such as the suite of technologies for the automobile. These include gas and oil refineries, filling stations and repair shops, tire manufacturers, automobile assembly plants, the highway system, and many more. The government began to play a larger role in shaping technology through technological policies and regulations.

The meaning of the word "technology" evolved to reflect these changes. In the nineteenth century, technology referred simply to the practical arts used to create physical products, everything from wagon wheels and cotton cloth to telephones and steam engines. In the twentieth century, the meaning of the word was expanded to include everything involved in satisfying human material needs and wants, from factories and the organizations that operate them to scientific knowledge, engineering know-how, and technological products themselves.

As the nature of technology changed, its meaning became more vague, leaving room for misconceptions that sometimes led to questionable conclusions.

Back to Home


Translate the second paragraph of this page into Spanish.

Hint: Do not try to translate the text word-by-word, this is what machhines do and the results are not good enough yet. Focus on the ideas and meaning you want to express. Read more about translation and try an automatic on-line translator HERE.