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Technology is the field that applies science to solve problems with an
industrial, commercial, educational, persuasive or military end in mind.
Engineering applies human traits such as imagination, judgement, and
intellectual discipline to existing human knowledge to create or use
technology safely and efficiently.
The term technology is usually used to explain new inventions and gadgets
using recently derived scientific principles and processes. However, even
very old inventions such as the wheel are examples of technology.
Technology in ideology
Very often, new is assumed to mean "better" in technology and engineering
circles. The notion of appropriate technology developed in the 20th century
to describe situations where it was not desirable to use very new
technologies or those that required access to some centralized
infrastructure or parts or skills imported from elsewhere. The eco-village
movement evolved in part due to this concern. Intermediate technology, more
of an economics concern, refers to compromises between central and expensive
technologies of developed nations and those which developing nations find
most effective to deploy given an excess of labour, and scarcity of cash. In
general, an "appropriate" technology will also be "intermediate".
Exactly contrary assumptions are made by those who promote transhumanism,
posthumanism, technological singularity. In these ideologies, technological
development is regarded as morally good.
In economics, definitions or assumptions of progress or growth are often
related to one of more of the above assumptions. Challenging prevailing
assumptions about technology and its usefulness has led to ideas like
uneconomic growth or measuring well-being. These, and economics itself, can
often be described as technologies, specifically, as persuasion technology -
a concern covered in its own separate article.
In warfare, technological escalation is often a feature of an arms race, and
results in new military technology.
In fiction, fictional technology often plays a role in the story, especially
science fiction, which is often based on such ideas.