A Definition of Technology From an Engineer’s Perspective
Technology is the total set of any human methods, skills, systems, and practices used in the creation of goods or services and in their successful realization of goals, including scientific research. The term is often applied to refer to a particular process, technology, or skill. In many cases, technology is considered a subset of the larger discipline of engineering. This is because the field of engineering seeks to incorporate all of the knowledge that can be gathered from other disciplines in engineering.
In engineering, technology is a subset of the broader discipline of scientific knowledge that deals with the design of useful and workable machines and systems. Many branches of engineering have technology as a component of their curriculum. For example, the aerospace industry has a wide variety of technologies that are incorporated into the designs of airplanes, missiles, and space vehicles. The branch of knowledge that deals with the design of such machines often refers to technology.
Another division of the broad field of engineering is the schatzberg scale. The schatzberg scale identifies a number of physical and technological properties of a material. This includes such things as the tensile strength, toughness, and creep resistance. Since material properties cannot be changed at a molecular level, this portion of the schatzberg scale deals specifically with physical qualities of materials. As with the physical properties, the number of such properties in a material has increases as it becomes more complex.
A different branch of engineering known as classical studies focuses on the development of new and improved technological systems. In nineteenth century classical studies, technology was identified primarily as the means of communication. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, classical studies tended to focus more on the means of technology, especially those that had an economic value. This shift came about as a result of a recognition that technology was becoming a major force in political and social life. Classical studies tended to describe technological objects or phenomena as being the result of natural laws and/or as having religious or spiritual connotations.
In the twenty-first century, the term technology has been used to refer to a wide variety of human activities and organizations. Technological theories have been a central part of many theories in applied science, engineering, and other fields. Applied scientists use the term technology to describe a range of unique characteristics of a system, like the way in which an energy beam behaves when it strikes a surface. Engineers apply this understanding to specific systems, like how to better protect the environment, build stronger cars, or create better consumer products.
Cultural studies identifies technology as having both a social and a psychological impact on society. Cultural critics examine the ways in which technological innovations affect society as a whole. They do this by examining how technology develops, what cultural patterns are associated with it, and what societal effects it has. Cultural critics also examine how technological innovations affect people’s everyday lives. By looking at how people use technology in their daily lives, cultural critics attempt to explain not only the emergence of new technologies, but also how people come to understand these technologies and how technology influences their own lives.
Cultural scholars’ broad definition of technology includes all of the previously listed forms of technological innovations. This includes such diverse fields as computer sciences, engineering, computer technology, electrical engineering, computer science, information technology, multimedia, hardware and software, networking, multimedia, and visual arts. Specific technological objects or practices are not included in this broad definition, such as telephones, steamboat boats, jet planes, television, radio, and telephone lines. The narrow definition of technology used by scholars in this article corresponds closely to the extent of scientific study that has examined technological objects or practices. It thus includes only those technological objects and practices that have been studied thoroughly by scientists, engineers, and other trained professionals.
In his classic work The Social Construction of Technological Difference, Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson defined technical reasoning as the process of finding an appropriate use for a technical object through the process of natural selection. According to Schatzberg, Lord Tennyson’s definition of techne defines a more narrow version of technological reasoning as the application of the sciences to create social patterns of behavior. According to Schatzberg, the discipline of applied science defines the entire range of technological objects and practices, while the study of humanities focuses solely on the technological theories that have been shaped by human beings through history.