Technology is an umbrella term for any tool that helps humans control their environment. In the most basic sense, it can describe anything that improves human capabilities – from stones used to start fires or hunt and forge weapons in early times to smart factories and 3D printers today. It can also refer to tools that help us understand our world, such as microscopes, telescopes and scientific methods.
Whether we use it to make food, clothing or computers, technology changes our lives and the world around us. Understanding how different types of technology work can improve our lives, propel a career and help us stay safe.
The definition of technology is constantly changing, and there are many ways to categorize it. Some think of it as the rational process of creating means to order and transform matter, energy and information to realize valued ends. Others see it as a specific kind of object – from toothbrushes to transportation systems – or a set of objects and related methods (technology, artifacts, devices, tools and techniques).
For example, in the 1900s, people began making electronic products smaller and more portable. They developed integrated circuit chips that made personal computers possible. And now, we can use GPS (Global Positioning System) to locate our surroundings, track packages, monitor ocean shipping and more. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard and other generative language models can write poems, songs, short stories, business letters and resumes for job seekers.