The emergence of technology has changed the face of the human species. From the Stone Age, where people made knives and shovels out of obsidian, to the present, technology is a hugely important factor in life. It has helped us to solve many problems, from ensuring our safety while traveling to distant research sites, to measuring, treating and computing data. In the field of medicine, technological advances have improved medical care and led to the development of advanced imaging techniques.
Technological innovations are often dependent on social forces, which influence the decisions of governments and the way people use technology. These forces are often reflected in formal regulations and public debates. In the United States, for example, several factors influence the types of technological options available to consumers, from patent laws to local regulations. Other factors include scientific discoveries and media attention.
As with any design, there are unintended consequences, and they can affect the intended outcome. Sometimes, a technology’s design could have unintended benefits, such as a reduction in cancer risk, or the development of a more efficient way to transport a product. Other times, a technological innovation could cause adverse side effects that may harm consumers.
Technology is a complex, ever-evolving system. In addition to addressing individual needs, it can also solve societal problems. A major example of this is the internet, which makes communication much easier.