Technology is the application of knowledge to practical aims, like changing and manipulating the environment or creating new products. It includes both tangible tools such as utensils or machines, and intangible tools that are not physical, like computer software.
Technology affects almost every aspect of modern life, including travel, work, shopping, entertainment and communications. Digital technology has made devices smaller, faster and more versatile. It has enabled a huge increase in data storage and transfer. It has also made it possible to make things that were previously impossible, such as letting deaf people hear and blind people see. It has even allowed humans to travel to distant worlds.
But while many technologies have positive side effects, they can also cause problems. For example, a nuclear reactor may be able to create energy, but it can also have devastating consequences for the planet. Similarly, refrigerators may help save food but their leakage of a small amount of a gas into the atmosphere can have significant environmental impacts.
It is important to note that all engineering designs are subject to constraints. While some of these are fixed—physical laws, financial restrictions and other factors—others can be adjusted. To reach a successful design, it is necessary to balance these constraints and find the best solution. This process is called optimization and it is the driving force behind technological progress.