Technology: Definition and Sources of Inputs
Technology appears in each day of our lives, and it features in everything we do: communication, transportation, healthcare, and even education. Human needs continue to grow, which, in return, contributes to the development and the use of technology in everything we do. Every day we see a new type of technology emerging in the market; it may be an application, a new program or equipment that helps us to accomplish and complete our tasks. These discoveries, however, make people become addicted to technology.. In this paper we will discuss the four-part definition of technology, outline the major sources of technological “inputs” along with technological process steps, and, finally, illustrate the main steps to identifying the right problem and its possible solutions.
Question 1: Definition of Technology
Technology comes from the Greek word “techne” meaning art or craft and `logos `which means study or science. The word for many people has close relations with electronics, the future, innovation, and invention. However, this is a limited understanding (Halverson, 2015). It is possible to define technology as a system consisting of technological process, technological objects, and knowledge application that aim at changing and manipulating the environment to meet human needs.
Technology as a process means that it can transform inputs like materials, energy and information to produce products and services that realize certain ends. It is the end of the process aligned with a specific manufacturing and assembling of parts. The technology uses objects, techniques, and tools to form technological and knowledge objects that make life easier. For example, technology through computers has been able to provide better access to education and broken social barriers (Waddell, 2013).
Technology as a body of knowledge is available to society and uses materials to achieve commercial or industrial objectives. Knowledge has contributed to the formation of technologies and equipment like hand tools and wheels to reduce work effort (Lane, 2006). For instance, such gadget as iPod is used to store music files that are easily portable.
The technology combines knowledge available to society, skills, materias and technological process to form a technical system that brings together users and developers to solve problems and needs. To illustrate, medical technology that uses various knowledge and skills to manufacturers of polio vaccine to counter the disease.
Question 2: Sources of Technological Inputs
Inputs are factors of production that go into the system and are used by the system (“Inputs of a technological system,” n.d.). Technological system inputs include:
People: everyday human beings have needs that they want to satisfy, and these needs are what leads to the development and different types of technological systems, making people the most important input in the system. People are involved in providing the knowledge, skills and the workforce that ensure that the system functions. Besides, once the system is developed people become primary consumers of the technological services and product output in their day-to-day lives (Wright, 2004).
Tools and machines: technology uses tools and devices created through technological processes to accomplish what is to be done. These tasks include communication of information and ideas through technological systems. The example in the commercial sector may be the use of washing machines instead of hands, which has made the work easier.
Energy: the activities in the system need energy ranging from human power to nuclear energy. Energy transforms and converts matter in technological systems. Thus, potential energy of falling water can be converted and transformed into electrical energy.
Information: it is an important input in technological systems since it helps people understand, interpret and describe situations and events.
Material: technology uses materials that can be natural, man-made or artificial to produce structures for technological devices. A material as an input is used for practical purposes. Example: using of lubricant products to reduce friction of machines (“Universal systems models,” n.d.).
Capital: in technological systems, inputs like tools, labor and materials are to be purchased. Capital becomes essential to the system to ensure ooperations are under way while the system earns the profit. For example, a construction company purchases land to build homes and sell them at a profit.
Time: technology, like any other activity, needs time for the completion of various tasks in the process of manufacturing or processing. If there is no proper or appropriate allocation of time, then some activities and tasks will be omitted. Therefore, priority is given to the most important ones while the less-critical tasks can be left undone or postponed to a later date. Technology does not need to be developed immediately. Some activities can wait until time, and other resources are available to be completed.
Question 3: Technological process
Technology is the practical application of knowledge and skills to create solutions that aim at satisfying certain needs. The technology uses the rational process (technological process) that may differ according to the area of specialization to create means that transform matter, energy and information to ensure that these needs are met, and problems are solved in the best possible ways (Technological Processes).
Step 1: Defining the task. The identification and analysis of the need or problem should be put into consideration. Information concerning the problem should be collected and that which is considered useful selected to ensure the right problem is defined. Criteria for a successful solution design should be established while constraints and limitations that affect the process are identified (Gray & Smith, 2009). These will make it possible to know what can postpone the design implementation.
Step 2: Generating and developing ideas. Alternative solutions and ideas are generated and designed. Solutions are also explored using existing designs before deciding on the best option that will help fulfill the need or solve the problem.
Step 3: Develop solutions. Solutions are designed and its techniques refined using a combination of different aspects of several designs. The analysis of these solutions is done, and the best are used to solve problems and provide the desired effects (NSW Department of Education and Communities (NSWDEC), 2011).