Technology and Science 

From the first wood or stone artifact to the space shuttle stretches an unbroken tool-making and -using tradition that has always focused on "bigger, better, faster, easier and cheaper. In contrast to modern science which is a new (a few hundred years old) institution, technology has been with us since the appearance of man. Indeed, one of the first species we recognize as fully human is named Homo habilis, handy man, because of his tool-making capabilities. 

For over two million years, technology evolved slowly, often by accident, sometimes by trial and error. In the past one hundred and fifty years, the rate of technological innovation has increased enormously. What has happened is that, as science began explaining the make-up and the working of the world, this new understanding allowed people to apply and use these insights for new products and services. 

This synergistically relationship between science and technology has radically altered the human environment, and forced people to alter their behaviors, opinions and social systems more and more often. How will your life change as new products, new mores and behaviors come to replace those that you consider important and correct, and eventually new jobs replace those you have been trained for? Moreover this pace of innovation has been increasing steadily. As technology becomes ever more powerful and sophisticated, our tools for exploring the world also improve. This allows us to better see it and understand it, which then feeds the technology, which gives science better tools...etc. 

The growth of technology has ushered in many new problems for all societies, such as pollution. Many of these ills are ascribed to the interference of science with "the world." In reality, these are not scientific problems but technological problems. They have been created by technology, fueled by economic and political motivations that lead to decisions and behaviors  too often ignorant of the all too real consequences of these decisions. Because the cause of the problem is really social, the solutions also involve new social and political behaviors and reallocation of resources. Unfortunately there has been little political and social willingness or ability to implement the rational solutions that science has offered for many of these problems often driven by greed, fear and ignorance.  

Science and Society 

Because scientific inquiry has grown in complexity and extent, doing science has become an expensive proposition. Few scientists can master more than even a segment of their discipline, and are therefore dependent on colleagues for expertise beyond their own, often too narrow area. Consequently, scientists have increasingly entered into cooperative research clustered in well equipped centers. The high cost has also led to more and more research being funded by the government, increasingly blurring the lines between science and technology. 

Science deals in information and is a way of looking at the world. In this shrinking universe, it becomes ever more important to see and understand the world as it is, and not through the eyes of a particular culture, philosophy, need or time. Only science provides such a broad perspective.