The Essence of Technology in The Twenty First Century
Technology is nothing but the sum total of any human-made systems, practices, processes, or methods applied in the achievement of specific goals, for instance scientific discovery or in the production of new products or services. There is a great difference between technology and innovation. Innovation pertains to an improvement in a process, technology, product, or service that is different from what existed previously or can be imagined to exist in the future. While technology is involved in all these processes and in the results thereof. The term technology was first used by American linguist and computer engineer Alfred E. Wolf who defined it as “the science of getting things done”.
A rather intriguing aspect of incorporating technological change into organizational decision making is the cultural approach. There has been a recent renaissance in interest in Schatzberg’s model of cultural change processes. The key idea behind this is that different cultures reveal different underlying technologies and organizations. By observing a variety of cultures and using relevant tools like elicitation, analysis of participant statements, behavioral data, and meta-analyses, this model provides a rich toolbox for identifying underlying technological dynamics that can help us understand complex organizations better.
Technology is a very broad term that encompasses many diverse things like scientific knowledge, engineering technology, software technology, cellular technology, communications technology, energy technology, information technology, computer technology, and many other things that are considered new technologies. In a broad sense, technology can refer to any of these things. However, in defining technology, one should keep in mind that technological systems often emerge in response to societal needs and desires. It therefore makes sense to consider things like culture, government, economics, and other drivers of change when trying to understand what technological change means for an organization.
It is important to note that there is a vast difference between controlling fire and creating new technologies. In the context of the internet, for instance, people have used the term technology to describe applications such as email, web browsing, video conferencing, internet access, electronic mail, instant messaging, and similar things. In the context of scientific research and development, on the other hand, technology refers to the ability to test, analyze, manipulate, or reproduce scientific information in some manner other than by way of experimentation. The internet, for example, is a collection of tools, applications, and networks that allow researchers to collect, organize, store, transmit, and control data and information in a way that allows them to do the multiple tasks listed above.
While some people believe that scientific knowledge is a primary component of technological innovation, others tend to think of technological innovations as adding to and enhancing the knowledge available to scientists and scholars in the natural world. The implication is that technology is nothing more than a way of organizing the natural world around us so that we can use it to our advantage. This point of view can be traced back to the early days of the discipline of science itself. In fact, part of the motivation behind why scientists began exploring and applying the knowledge of the natural world came from a desire to put more meaning into what they were discovering and doing.
Although some still view the twenty-first century as the age of technology, there are those who see the age of science and technology as a period characterized by rapid and profound change – a change that is not related to major shifts in human thought and a corresponding decrease in the number of meaningful human endeavors. In weighing the pros and cons of technology, it is necessary to remember that human beings have been exploring the natural world with technology since the dawn of time, so there really is little historical evidence to speak of as to the precise nature and purposes of technological systems. Thus, we might say that the term technology was actually first used as an adverb referring to the fact that things which were being done were being organized and categorized by human minds in order to make it easier for them to distinguish between what was natural and what was man made. It is this shift in technology that has now given the term technology a more definite and specific sense, one that better enables us to appreciate its essential elements and learn how they have helped mankind.