Technology is a broad field that encompasses the application of knowledge for practical goals. It includes the creation of both tangible tools, such as utensils and machines, and intangible ones, such as computer software. It involves reasoning through contingencies and constraints specific to a situation and deliberating about what kinds of ends might be achieved with different means. It entails prioritizing some paths while neglecting others. This process, which is inherently purposive and instrumental, often results in technological systems dominating other ways of accomplishing the same ends.
While individual inventiveness is essential to technological innovation, social and economic forces strongly influence what technologies will be undertaken, paid attention to, invested in, and used at any particular time. These include consumer acceptance, patent laws and availability of risk capital, government budget processes and local and national regulations, the media’s attention, and economic competition and tax incentives.
As the economy evolves, many businesses are finding that upgrading their current technology is an effective way to increase customer sales and employee productivity. This is because new technology empowers companies to compete with their competitors by offering a more convenient experience for their customers and employees.
The development of a new technology often requires substantial investment of human and financial resources, including time and energy. To determine whether to move forward, engineers must consider such factors as the amount of money needed for the project and its long-term cost of maintenance, how much infrastructure is required, how difficult it would be to obtain the necessary materials and how to dispose safely of any waste products.