Whether or not technology improves the human condition is a major philosophical debate. Many businesses use technology to increase productivity and compete in the marketplace. They also use communication technology tools to transmit information and stay connected with customers.
New technologies can create forces of change from unexpected places. These changes can facilitate political oppression and war. Technology can also be used to create new subcultures. It can also help companies deliver products on time.
As new technologies continue to advance, there is increasing pressure on technologists to understand the social implications of these technologies. Technologists often point to governments to solve social problems, but governments lack incentives to address social issues. Governments also have limited resources to address these problems.
In order to develop solutions to these problems, individuals must first determine what problem they are trying to solve, then compare technical and economic criteria for a solution. Next, they must design the solution, and then communicate it to their team. A final solution will require different criteria for government, management, and the market.
Philosophical reflection on technology has developed over the centuries. The Renaissance period brought about a greater appreciation of human creativity, which prompted increased philosophical debate about the future of technology in society.
In the nineteenth century, a positive attitude toward technology persisted. Karl Marx believed that technological innovation was a necessary part of socialism. He did not condemn spinning mills, however.
In the twentieth century, a new notion of appropriate technology emerged. The notion explains situations where new technologies are not desirable. It describes situations where centralized infrastructure is needed, or where imported parts or skills are required.