Technology is the application of knowledge to create tools, machines or devices that make life easier for people. Some of the earliest technologies include the ability to control fire, which increased the available resources for survival in prehistoric times, and the wheel, which reduced the distances people had to travel to get food. The most modern technology includes computers, which have become indispensable in a wide variety of workplaces and home applications.
The most basic forms of technology involve changing natural resources into functional objects. People use wood, stone and metal to build houses, cook meals and manufacture goods, and they have used fire, wind, water and solar power to help with farming, fishing and hunting. More recently, technological advances have allowed humans to communicate and interact on a global scale. The Internet, television, mobile phones and satellite communications have eliminated the physical barriers that separated people in the past.
People have also developed technology that enables them to live longer, healthier lives by using electricity and drugs to treat illness. Some of the most advanced technologies are used in medicine, such as pacemakers, which keep hearts beating regularly. Other electrical devices, such as hearing aids and kidney dialysis machines, are used to help patients who suffer from disabilities.
During the 1900s, scientists discovered how to fit the parts that make electronic products work into tiny chips called integrated circuits. This technology enabled the creation of personal computers, compact disc players and digital cameras.
Computer systems that mimic human intelligence are examples of artificial intelligence (AI). They can understand natural language and complete tasks that require human intelligence. People are continually working to improve AI so that it can perform more functions and be as intuitive as possible.
Information technology (IT) involves the use of computer networks and software to store, send and retrieve data. It helps businesses solve problems and streamline organizational processes.
One of the most important advantages of technology is that it democratizes access to information. The ability to search for anything with a click of a button has created a worldwide thirst for knowledge, which many people satisfy by taking online courses and reading books. Technology has also revolutionized the workplace, with more and more people able to work remotely thanks to cloud computing and social media platforms. Overuse of technology can lead to eye strain, back pain and addiction, while reliance on it can cause a lack of face-to-face interaction with others. It can also be abused for harmful purposes, such as hacking and cyberbullying. These issues are exacerbated by the digital divide, where some people do not have access to or cannot afford the latest technology. Fortunately, there are organizations that provide technology services to disadvantaged communities. These organizations are often nonprofits or government agencies. They may offer hardware and software, education and training, and technical support. They are also often supported by private companies. They can be found in cities, towns and rural areas, as well as in places that serve a particular demographic group.