Technology refers to the tools, processes and systems that enable the transformation of practice in science, engineering, medicine, agriculture, business and other fields. These technologies include computer software and hardware, telecommunications, robotics, biotechnology, and more.
The word technology evolved from the Greek words episteme (knowledge of something) and techne (knowledge of doing or making). In the ancient world, the first referred to scientific or empirical observation. The second was a more systematic process for applying that knowledge.
The most common and widely used definition of technology is that it’s the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry. Other interpretations of the same term are also possible, such as “the field of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences.”
It may be difficult to distinguish technology from science and even to understand the difference between those two terms, but one can usually make a rough distinction. Essentially, science deals with the study of phenomena by employing formal techniques.
In contrast, engineering is a goal-oriented process for designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means. These processes often draw upon knowledge from many disciplines, including scientific, mathematical, linguistic and historical knowledge.
The development of new technology can be a complex and frustrating process. It is rare for a technology to come to fruition straight away, and most technological advances take years of dedicated research and development to achieve. During this time, many scientific results and engineer’s ideas are put to the test against reality. They are prone to what is sometimes called a ‘death valley’ – a period of stagnation and difficulty when seemingly promising ideas appear to fall short of practical reality.