Technological advancement of Mankind
Man has won his dominant position on this planet by his command of technology. All other animals have to take nature as it is; they must fit into the environment that has been provided to them. It is the man who alone can change the shape of his world. He moves thing about; he alters them in a constant effort to create an environment more hospitable than that which nature has thrust him into. Technology is the sum total of the all the different techniques by which man changes the environment.
Technology is the characteristic of all human societies, and it exists even among less developed tribes and communities. Even the Eskimos use a number of techniques to make life more comfortable to them. They make clothes, build igloos and boats. They use needles and knifes; they get food by fishing lines and harpoons. All these are techniques for changing their wild habitat into an environment that suits them better.
It has been found that the technologies become more complex with the advancement of civilizations, but the basic pattern is always the same. There must be means to get food, so the hunter invents the spear or the bow and arrow or the boomerang, and the farmer invents the hoe or the plough. There must be means to move the things about, so the community domesticates the ox or the horse and invents the boat or the wheel. There must be means to ward off the weather, so the community makes clothes and huts and invent the tool that are needed to make them. These and other tools need to be strong and durable, so, the civilizations gradually move on from stone to bronze, from bronze to iron and so on. And when we think of our present age as the age of light metals, we see ourselves in the tradition of progress that began with stone, bronze and iron.
All progress in technology depends upon the scientific understanding of the ways in which the nature works, in order that we make her work for our ends. We can not say that science and technology are independent fields of study. Agriculture can not progress without the study of Genetics, light metals can not be made without research in Chemistry, and automation depends upon electronic devices that need a detailed understanding of the Physics of matter and of the logic of the control systems.
Above all, though, we must understand that technology is the application of the scientific knowledge to human problems. Like all knowledge, it can be applied for good or evil and when applied with the best of intensions, it can have evil results. In short, every human advance carries with not only automatic benefits but also a new responsibility, and we must remain constantly aware of the dangers that lie in the possible misuse of enormous skills. If properly used, those very skills could enable whole populations to lead the kind of good life both material and spiritual.