Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings. Systems (e. g. machines) applying technology by taking an input, changing it according to the system's use, and then producing an outcome are referred to as technology systems or technological systems.
The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.
Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth's environment. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions in the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump
is a 1768 oil-on-canvas painting
by Joseph Wright of Derby
, part of a series of candlelit scenes that Wright painted during the 1760s. The Air Pump
departed from previous painting conventions by depicting a scientific subject in the reverential manner formerly reserved for scenes of historical and religious significance. Wright was intimately involved in depicting the Industrial Revolution
and the scientific advances of the Enlightenment
, but while his paintings were recognized as something out of the ordinary by his contemporaries, his provincial status and choice of subjects meant the style was never widely imitated. The picture has been owned by the National Gallery
since 1863 and is still regarded as a masterpiece of British art. The painting depicts a natural philosopher
, a forerunner of the modern scientist, recreating one of Robert Boyle
's air pump
experiments, in which a bird is deprived of oxygen, before a varied group of onlookers. The group exhibit different reactions, but for most scientific curiosity overcomes concern for the bird. The central figure looks out of the picture as if inviting the viewer's participation in the outcome.
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Did you know...
I. M. Pei
(born 1917) is a Chinese American
architect, often called a master of modern architecture
. Born in Guangzhou
, in 1935 he moved to the United States. While enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
, he became unhappy with the school's focus on Beaux-Arts architecture
, and spent his free time researching the emerging architects, especially Le Corbusier
. After graduating, he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design
and formed a friendship with the Bauhaus
architects Walter Gropius
and Marcel Breuer
. Pei spent ten years working with New York real estate magnate William Zeckendorf
before establishing his own independent design firm that eventually became Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
. Among the early projects on which Pei took the lead were the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel
in Washington, DC, and the Green Building
at MIT. His first major recognition came with the National Center for Atmospheric Research
in Colorado; his new stature led to his selection as chief architect for the John F. Kennedy Library
in Massachusetts. He went on to design Dallas City Hall
and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art
. In the early 1980s, Pei was the focus of controversy when he designed a glass-and-steel pyramid
for the Louvre
museum in Paris. Pei has won a wide variety of prizes and awards in the field of architecture, including the 1983 Pritzker Prize
, sometimes called the Nobel Prize
- Parent project
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