Technology is the totality of any procedures, skills, ways, or methods used in the creation of products or services, or in the achievement of specific goals, such as scientific research. The science that falls under the category of technology deals with the observation of nature, including its structures, processes, information, and interactions. It also deals with the application of those observations to create new knowledge or the improvement of already known facts and practices. A branch of technology that falls under the field of technology is technology studies.
Science is defined in Wikipedia as the systematic study of nature and its patterns and workings. According to the editors of the encyclopedia, science is the collection of the results of experiments and study conducted by individuals over time with the main objective of understanding the nature and properties of things and how they work. In order for science to have any real impact on society, it must be able to offer solutions to real problems. Those results then form the basis for people to develop and implement technological developments to meet their practical aims and goals.
The discipline of technology studies seeks to answer questions that pertain to the natural and practical aspects of human life. There is a divide between theoretical knowledge and practical aims. The theoretical knowledge develops through the process of scientific inquiry, while the practical aims are based on the need to implement the theories. For example, one may ask what the purpose of computer technology is, with the answer being primarily communication. The development of computer technology is in accordance with the progress of human beings’ practical aims.
Analysis is also part of the discipline of technology. Analysis is the process of finding relationships among technological systems. Analysis is useful in identifying the various technologies of a particular region or era that can be classified according to their specific purposes, effects on the environment, and their contributions to the environment and to society. Analysis has three general categories according to which the research can be analyzed: social science, engineering science, and technical science. These categories are further divided into more specific ones such as economic, political, and social science.
In analyzing technology, two broad approaches are employed. One of these is a cultural approach and the other is rationalistic approach. A number of books on the history of technology have presented Schatzberg’s work on the cultural approach, while those books that present a detailed account of rationalistic technology believe that technology can only be analyzed through a more scientific way. On the other hand, a number of scholars who subscribe to the Schatzberg’s philosophy believe that technology cannot be understood through a scientific lens alone. Instead, technology is to be studied on the basis of its effect on culture and society, in addition to the society and human beings themselves.
Schatzberg believed that each society in the twentieth century developed technologically at different rates. With the exception of nineteenth century Europe, all other societies developed at a relatively high but not at the same rate. The period between the First World War and the Second World War saw a rapid expansion in technological advancements; however, there was a stagnation during the Post-World War Era. Thereafter, technology seemed to slow down, although there were new areas which were yet to be explored. Thus, according to Schatzberg, a period of technological regression is to be considered in the history of technology.
According to Schatzberg, there are three basic categories of technologies that emerged during the history of the world. These are rational technophobia, romantic technophobia, and mythical technophobia. Rational technophobia is concerned with the way that a society group protects itself against technological innovations, whereas romantic technophobia pertains to protection of the arts against technological innovations. Finally, mythical technophobia concerns the way in which technological innovations are perceived in popular cultures.
According to Halliday, “What the scholars have been saying about tech since I’ve written this book is that it really does matter what people think about it. It matters how knowledgeable a person is on the history of science and technology, because one way to demonstrate to people that you are very knowledgeable is to talk about science in terms of what you’re doing in your own life. You have to show people that you know a lot, but that you also use technology in a way that doesn’t distort the meaning of things.”