Technology is the collective term for a wide range of human activities and discoveries that are the result of the application of science and technology. Technological systems are the sum of all the known methods, techniques, procedures, and technologies used in the creation of goods and services or in the achievement of specific goals, including scientific discovery. Technological systems therefore span all human activity and it is very difficult to describe the interactions of various technological systems. This has created an enormous complexity in designing and constructing technology systems, which has resulted in a tremendous overflow of data and knowledge into the research and development communities. The accumulation of this vast body of knowledge has produced numerous theory frameworks, which are used to analyze the relationships among various theories. The most successful theories have been those that have applied a solid physical approach to analyzing technological systems.
Technology is also a branch of science that describes the social construction and interaction of technology. It is important to note that science and technology do not exist independent of society. They are both intertwined, with the progress of society coming at a cost to the individual who uses the tools and devices invented by society. Technological innovations are thus not free gifts for the individual but also involve active participation by the individuals in the construction and modification of their own living and work spaces and communities.
The process of sociological science seeks to describe how technology is connected to the process of scientific knowledge production. Sigmund Freud first put forth the idea of a relation between science and society. In his theory of psychoanalysis, Freud maintained that people draw knowledge from their surrounding environment and then make use of this knowledge when making rational decisions about their own bodies and minds. This process is called psychoanalysis. Since Freud’s time, other thinkers and scientists have affirmed the importance of psychoanalysis to the study of society.
Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein, Alfred Nobel, Elton John, Stephen Wolfram, Claus Reinhart, J. Alfred Tausser, and Norbert Wiener were among the early advocates of the study of society and its relationships with technology. Many other scientists and philosophers have since added to this body of research. In more recent decades, leading voices in scientific and engineering communities have questioned the rationality of technology, calling into question the motives behind the design and implementation of technological systems. The dominant cultural attitude of dismissal of the technologist as irrational or ignorant has led to an increasing rejection of the notion of technoscience within many parts of the scientific community.
In recent years, however, more positive attitudes have replaced the anti-ethnocentric tendencies toward technology that had previously characterized scientific and technological literature. One of the emerging trends is the growing attempt to integrate technology in various aspects of life. Increasingly, technologists are shaping the design of medical and healthcare practices with the aim of producing better health and services. Others are involved in the design and development of new information and communication technologies, such as digital computers, electronic medical records, diagnostic and treatment machines, and other technologies that facilitate the exchange of complex knowledge across a variety of disciplines.
Technology, however, is not static. It continues to grow as a result of the social transformations it has triggered. Although at times complicated by socio-technical organization and conflicting political interests, technolatry is itself becoming a socially responsible field. Technological change has affected every aspect of our lives, but the increased involvement of individuals in ensuring the value, quality, safety, and efficiency of the goods and services produced by technological systems, calls for increased awareness concerning what technology has to contribute to society and to the welfare of humanity.