Technology is a concept we encounter daily and it’s often used to describe a number of different things. In many cases, when people hear the word, they think primarily of the tools we use to live in our modern world: from phones and computers to robots and cars.
There are several types of technologies based on how they’re applied, problems they solve, and purposes they serve. They can be divided into four broad categories: incremental, semi-radical, radical, and emergent technologies.
Incremental technology focuses on making small innovations that add up to significant improvements. For example, upgrading to a new version of an operating system or adding security patches are examples of incremental technology. Semi-radical technology aims to improve existing technological aspects with a more radical change than just an incremental improvement. Robotics and automation are examples of semi-radical technology. It helps increase efficiency by reducing manual work. It also helps reduce costs and errors.
Finally, emergent technology enables us to create things we couldn’t have before. Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are two examples of emergent technologies.
The way we use technology in our lives is shaped by the choices we make about it. This is reflected in the fact that not all technologies have equally positive outcomes. Large technologies, such as nuclear reactors and agriculture, have potentially devastating side effects. Ordinary technologies, such as refrigerators and air conditioning systems, may also have unforeseen consequences. Ultimately, what it comes down to is that human curiosity and foresight are the driving forces behind our technologies.