As long as there have been people, there has been technology. Indeed, the techniques of shaping tools are taken as the chief evidence of the beginning of human culture. On the whole, technology has been a powerful force In the development of civilization, all the more so as Its link with science has been forged. Technology?like language, ritual, values, commerce, and the arts?is an Intrinsic part of a cultural system and it both shapes and reflects the system’s values.
In today’s world, technology is a complex social enterprise that Includes not only research, sign, and crafts but also finance, manufacturing, management, labor, marketing, and maintenance. In the broadest sense, technology extends our ablest to change the world: to cut, shape, or put together materials; to move things from one place to another; to reach farther with our hands, voices, and senses. We use technology to try to change the world to slut us better. The changes may relate to survival needs such as food, shelter, or defense, or they may relate to human aspirations such as knowledge, art, or control.
But the results of changing the world are often implicated and unpredictable. They can include unexpected benefits, unexpected costs, and unexpected risks?any of which may fall on different social groups at different times. Anticipating the effects of technology is therefore as important as advancing its capabilities. What the future holds for life on earth, barring some immense natural catastrophe, will be determined largely by the human species. The same intelligence that got us where we are?improving many aspects of human existence and introducing new risks into the world?is also our main resource for survival.