Technology is the tools, machines, software, and processes that are used to solve real-world problems. It includes both material and virtual technologies.
Technological innovations can improve the quality of life and help achieve economic growth; however, they also have negative effects like pollution, resource depletion, and technological unemployment. There are ongoing philosophical and political debates about the role and use of technology, and ways to mitigate its downsides.
Design of New Technology
Developing a new technology often involves many steps and requires sustained effort to overcome hurdles and reach the final product. Some technologies are able to succeed at each step, but others stall or fail despite great efforts.
Constrained Design of New Technology
Every technological design operates within constraints that have to be identified and taken into account before the project can proceed: one type is absolute–for example, physical laws such as the conservation of energy or electrical conductivity; another has some flexibility–for example, cost (only so much money is available), political (local, state, or national regulations), social (public opposition), ecological (likely disruption of the natural environment), and ethical (disadvantages to some people, risk to subsequent generations).
An optimum design takes into account all the constraints, strikes some reasonable compromise among them, and takes personal and social values into consideration. But reaching such design compromises, particularly with more complex technologies, can be challenging.