Technology is any collection of tools or techniques in a particular category (e.g. agricultural technology, wireless technology). It is also sometimes used to refer to a specific tool or technique.
Technology is one of the defining features of civilization. While in theory it may be possible to have civilization without anything we would recognize as technology, it is very difficult to imagine what form this would take, as finite resources combine with growing population to create conflicts which must either be resolved by force or by using new techniques. Either of these options results in the collapse of civilization if new techniques are not developed and widely adopted.
There is disagreement on the role of technology in human civilization. Historians, philosophers and other thinkers have debated this question for centuries and there are two major positions on this issue: the determinist position and the instrumentalist position.
- technological determinism states that technological progress is an automonous force outside human control and has been the primary factor shaping the course of history.
- technological instrumentalism states that technology has no ends of its own and exists only to accomplish human ends. Technology in completely under the control of humanity and human history is shaped by humans, not technology.