Technology is the application of scientific knowledge to practical aims, such as improving health, changing the environment, and making money. Throughout history, it has had both positive and negative impacts on human life. It can provide prosperity, increase comfort and quality of life, and enable medical progress; it can also disrupt social hierarchies, cause pollution, and harm individuals or groups.
Throughout history, technology has developed from personal experience with the properties of materials and with techniques for manipulating them, out of accumulated know-how passed on from one generation to the next. More recently, it has grown out of the specialized training required to build and maintain tools, as well as out of scientific understanding of the principles that govern how things behave.
As a result, modern technologies are often highly complex. They require sophisticated research, design, building, maintenance, and user training. They must operate within a wide range of constraints, including financial (only so much money is available), political (local, national, and international regulations), environmental (likely disruption of the natural environment), and social (disadvantages to some people and risks to future generations). An engineering design must balance these factors to achieve an acceptable compromise.
Modern technologies make work easier and more productive for businesses, especially in the areas of communication and data management. Companies can use software to store, manage and secure the files they collaborate on, or they can employ virtual assistants and chatbots to help customers find information about products and services, schedule appointments or complete other administrative tasks.