Technology is the practical use of science, including the making, modification or improvement, applied activity or behavior, use and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, methods of organization, or environmental modifications or arrangement in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, modifications, environmental arrangement and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species' ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The word technology comes from Greek τεχνολογία (technología); from τέχνη (téchnē), meaning 'art, skill, craft', and -λογία (-logía), meaning 'study of-'. The term can be applied either generally or to many specific areas, examples of which include construction technology, medical technology and information technology.
The human species' use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment. Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. However, not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history, from clubs to nuclear weapons.
Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, opining that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition. Indeed, until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations.
The history of timekeeping devices
begins thousands of years ago with the invention of the sexagesimal system
of time measurement
in approximately 2000 BC, in Sumer
. The Ancient Egyptians
divided the day into two 12-hour periods and used large obelisks
to track the movement of the Sun. They also developed water clocks
, which were probably first used in the Precinct of Amun-Re
, and later outside Egypt as well. Other ancient timekeeping devices include the candle clock
, used in China, Japan, England, and Iraq
; the timestick
, used in India and Tibet
, as well as some parts of Europe; and the hourglass
, which functioned similarly to a water clock. The first clock with an escapement
, which transferred rotational energy into discrete motions, appeared in China in the 8th century, and Muslim engineers
clocks in the 11th century. Mechanical clocks were introduced to Europe at the turn of the 14th century, and became the standard timekeeping device until the 20th century. During the 20th century, quartz oscillators
were invented, followed by atomic clocks
. Atomic clocks are far more accurate than any previous timekeeping device, and are used to calibrate other clocks and to calculate the proper time
on Earth; a standardized civil system, Coordinated Universal Time
, is based on atomic time.
In this month
Did you know...
Otto Julius Zobel
(1887–1970) was a design engineer who worked for the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T)
in the early part of the 20th century. Zobel's work on filter design was revolutionary and led, in conjunction with the work of John R. Carson
, to significant commercial advances for AT&T in the field of frequency division multiplex
(FDM) telephone transmissions. Although much of Zobel's work has been superseded by more modern filter designs, it remains the basis of filter theory and his papers are still referenced today. Zobel invented the m-derived filter
and the constant-resistance filter
, which remains in use. Zobel and Carson helped to establish the nature of noise in electric circuits, concluding that—contrary to mainstream belief—it is not even theoretically possible to filter out noise entirely and that noise will always be a limiting factor in what it is possible to transmit. Thus, they anticipated the later work of Claude Shannon
, who showed how the theoretical information rate of a channel is related to the noise of the channel.
- Parent project
- Related projects