The goal of Appropriate Technology (AT) is to increase the standard of living for the developing world without condescension, complication, or environmental damage. Typical AT inventions are more labor intensive, require fewer resources, and use low cost or readily available materials wherever possible. Special attention is paid to the social, cultural, and ethical aspects of the communities the technology is intended for.
The definition of techno-optimism is the belief that technology can continually be improved and can improve the lives of people, making the world a better place. In practice, there are two different kinds of techno-optimists: the good kind and the bad kind. The good techno-optimists believe that humans can use technology for good, and can mitigate its negative effects. The bad techno-optimists believe that technology can trump any problem so fervently that they tend to be apathetic to dealing with problems while they are in their early stages.
Technicism is an important concept that has much to do with technology, and is a particular way of viewing, approaching, and understanding the technology-driven and technology-centered society and world that we live in today. Essentially, technicism is a way of approaching the world that places its confidence in technology as a benefactor of society and one of the driving forces for change in society. When you take technicism to its absolute extreme, it becomes a belief that through the use of technology-computers, technological communication, robots, and anything else that you can think of-humans will ultimately be able to control existence through the manipulation and the use of technology.
Medieval technology saw the use of simple machines (such as the lever, the screw, and the pulley) being combined to form more complicated tools, such as the wheelbarrow, windmills and clocks. The Renaissance brought forth many of these innovations, including the printing press (which facilitated the greater communication of knowledge), and technology became increasingly associated with science, beginning a cycle of mutual advancement. The advancements in technology in this era allowed a more steady supply of food, followed by the wider availability of consumer goods.
The technological potential of fire is not discovered until well into the neolithic period. Pottery, fired in a primitive kiln, is known from about 6500 BC. The smelting and casting of metal require considerably higher temperatures and are not attempted until much later, from about 4000 BC. The introduction of copper, and then bronze, brings to an end the neolithic period. Other basic technologies, not requiring fire, are well established in neolithic times. Textiles feature almost as early as Pottery. Weights designed for spinning are common in neolithic sites, and fragments of fine woven cloth survive in graves at Catal Huyuk from as early as 5800 BC.
Paleolithic or "Old Stone Age" is a term used to define the oldest period in the human history. 4 million years ago when the first humans appear in the archaeological record, to around 120,000 years ago when important evolutionary and technological changes ushered in the Middle Palaeolithic. Technological advances included significant developments in flint tool manufacturing with industries based on fine blades rather than cruder flakes. The reasons for these changes in human behavior have been attributed to the changes in climate during the period which encompasses a number of global temperature drops. Artistic work also blossomed with Venus figurines and exotic raw materials found far from their sources suggest emergent trading links.
The Society for the History of Technology was formed in 1958 to encourage the study of the development of technology and its relations with society and culture. An interdisciplinary organization, SHOT is concerned not only with the history of technological devices and processes but also with technology in history—that is, the relationship of technology to politics, economics, science, the arts, and the organization of production, and with the role it plays in the differentiation of individuals in society. Not least, it is concerned with interpretive flexibility, the conception that beliefs about whether a technology "works" are contingent on the expectations, needs, and ideologies of those who interact with it.
Technology is generally divided into five categories (1) Tangible: blueprints, models, operating manuals, prototypes. (2) Intangible: consultancy, problem-solving, and training methods. (3) High: entirely or almost entirely automated and intelligent technology that manipulates ever finer matter and ever powerful forces. (4) Intermediate: semiautomated partially intelligent technology that manipulates refined matter and medium level forces. (5) Low: labor-intensive technology that manipulates only coarse or gross matter and weaker forces.
In ancient times, technology was defined by Homer and Hesiod as the spoken word of manual craft or cunning skill (Luna, 1994). By 330 BC, Aristotle coined the Greek term technologia and split scientific knowledge into three parts: theoretical science, practical science, and productive science (technology). According to Luna (1994), the earliest use of the word technology in the United States was found an a Harvard University course on the "application of the Sciences to the Useful Arts" in 1816. The 1832 Encyclopedia Americana defined technology as principles, processes, and nomenclatures. Ever since that time, there has been debate as to the definition and identity of technology. From a historical perspective, philosophers of technology agree that two phases of technology can be seen: the craft phase and the modern scientized phase. However, to a philosopher of technology, modern technology, although scientized, is a unique structure of thinking, not merely applied science. Nor, is technology, like science, fully described by the laws of nature.
History of technology, the development over time of systematic techniques for making and doing things. The term technology, a combination of the Greek technē, “art, craft,” with logos, “word, speech,” meant in Greece a discourse on the arts, both fine and applied.