Technology has radically transformed human society, from the agricultural revolution that contributed to massive population growth to the bow and arrows, to modern nuclear explosions, and from the development of sanitation and preventive medicine to the microprocessor. It has even shaped our understanding of the universe and the natural world, from the development of the microscope to the mapping of all human genes.
Making technology involves more than calculating the efficiency of different possible means to an end, however. The technologist also deliberates about what that end should be, whether or not it is already determined by science.
This process is often complex, because technologies are designed in contexts that are highly variable and dependent on a variety of factors. They may have environmental, social, or economic impacts, for example. They may require sophisticated education and training for their builders, operators, and users. They may have to be sold, maintained, and occasionally repaired, and they will inevitably require resources for their waste disposal.
The most significant impact of technology is how it allows us to do things that were not previously possible. Using technology, people can shop from the comfort of their homes or workplaces; they can book flights and hotels across the globe; they can access information from anywhere on any device; they can communicate with people around the world at once; they can make decisions that reduce costs by engaging machines instead of humans for certain tasks; they can learn with the support of interactive tools, which are able to adapt to their needs and improve their performance over time.