Technology is humanity’s applied knowledge of how to combine materials, energy sources, tools and skills to produce desired products. It also includes techniques, skills, processes, and knowledge that are used to solve problems, fulfill needs or wants, or develop new opportunities. Technological advances have strongly influenced the course of history and the nature of human society, from agricultural revolutions and industrialization to the widespread use of antibiotics, vaccines, and microprocessors.
While individual inventiveness is a critical ingredient in technological development, social and economic forces strongly influence what technologies are considered important, profitable, and worthwhile. These influences may include market research, patent laws, the availability of risk capital, government policy, the economy, media attention, and scientific competition.
Ultimately, the success of a new technology depends on its ability to provide a viable advantage in terms of cost, speed, ease of use and adaptability. The design of a particular technological tool or process is based on considerations about the materials and energy required for its construction, operation, maintenance and repair, and disposal. It also takes into account the time and skill needed to learn how to use it effectively.
Most importantly, a successful technology must be widely accessible in order to provide the greatest benefit to the most people. This means that the technology must be inexpensive to manufacture and easy for users to understand. This has led to the development of newer technologies such as 5G, which allows autonomous vehicles and remote surgery to communicate with each other and the Internet without significant lag-times.