Technology is simply the combination of any existing techniques, tools, systems, processes, or techniques used in the creation of products or services or in accomplishing goals, like scientific research. Technological systems are usually grouped into two general categories. One type of technological system is one that is designed and produced primarily for the economic advantage of a single firm. The other type of system is a system developed for the overall good of society as a whole, perhaps for the benefit of humanity in general.
In recent years, the development of new technologies has presented many opportunities for society. These opportunities range from improved manufacturing techniques, to more efficient procedures for scientific research and analysis, to new ways of delivering energy and other resources. All these new technologies open up new possibilities for employment in new fields, as well as for better working conditions. But developing and maintaining these new technologies requires an incredible amount of effort and resources from society as a whole. New technologies not only change the world as they create it, but also change the social and cultural patterns of how people interact with each other.
Technological systems are usually described in terms of either positive or negative effects on society. A positive effect is a net gain for society as a whole, since new technological innovations create more jobs and facilitate the economy. A negative effect is usually a loss of productivity and income due to technological failure or delay. Although some forms of technology can have both positive and negative effects, there is a growing concern that society is moving away from the use of technology as a way of enhancing human capabilities and may even be moving toward a culture which is dependent upon technology for basic survival.
The rapid spread of technology into the domestic and business markets has also had a significant impact on society. Technological innovations are often required to create a new service, make modifications to an existing service, or build and maintain new infrastructure. This kind of technology transfer creates new needs and demands for workers and technicians. Technological innovations may also result in a need for retraining and education of a new generation of workers, which may affect the overall supply of workers in a particular industry.
Technological change has also created and expanded the forms of social interaction that previously depended on religion and other community-based norms. For instance, previously there was only customary law that applied to a group of individuals. However, technological innovations have enabled groups of people to communicate and interact without the need for religious or community authority. As a result, there has been a rapid expansion of forms of social behavior that depend on technology. This process is sometimes referred to as the emergence of “the global village.”
Technological change has also resulted in changes in how people learn, think, and behave. Universities and colleges have become places where people learn new ideas and information. People are increasingly attracted to technological gadgets and other forms of entertainment. These interests make people more willing to accept new ideas and modify their behaviors to conform to the new sociocultural norms created by new technologies. In fact, people are often willing to embrace change if they perceive that the reason for change is more important than the impact of the change on their lives. This willingness to take risks is also related to individuals’ ability to generate income and enhance their status in society.
Technology has also affected societal norms in another way. Technological innovations are often required to create new forms of work. The expansion of the internet has resulted in many job roles that were previously held by professionals being performed by non-techies. As technology has increased the opportunity to participate in many forms of employment, it has also increased competition for employment.
Technological change and its impact on society are likely to continue to impact people in various ways. Some see the influence of technology on society as positive. Others worry about the effects of technology on society. Whether the effects of technology are good or bad depends on the types of technology involved, the amount of control society has over technology, and the willingness of society to adjust to changes in technology.