from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Technology in today's sense is the science and teaching of technology for planning and manufacturing industrial products . It essentially researches and imparts technical know-how for the design of procedural and application-related processes in industrial companies, including the planning and provision of the necessary operating resources and technical documentation.


The word technology is derived from the ancient Greek τεχνολογία technología "artful treatise on an art or science", which in turn goes back to τέχνη téchnē "art, craft" and λόγος lógos (here like Latin litterae meaning "sciences", comparative logic ) . In Hellenistic Greek ( Koine , from approx. 300 BC) it was sometimes used to describe the "systematic treatment of grammar and rhetoric".


The content of the term has shifted over time. The word used to have the meaning of an art lesson for business studies. More recently, meanings such as “doctrine of the craft”, “science of technology ” or “technical know-how” predominate , but the various conceptions differ considerably. Viewed as a whole, technology is scientific and technical knowledge that forms the basis for products and production processes .

Technical progress produces product or financial innovations ; Anyone who has an advantage over the competition in the application of new technologies is called a technology leader .

Different meanings in modern times

18th century

Until the 18th century, one, mind probably under the influence of Hellenistic word usage, with technology the "doctrine of Art words or terminis technicis ". This meaning is only of interest in the history of language and has long since ceased to play a role.

The Enlightenment philosopher Christian Wolff wrote in 1740 of a “possible philosophy of handicrafts, even if it has so far been neglected. […] So technology is the science of handicrafts and of handicraft products ”. With crafts and craft products the total is for those days, obviously technology meant (a word that has the time not present in common sense today). Wolff also explicitly mentions architecture as part of technology. It is interesting that Wolff sees technology as a possible branch of philosophy. This can be explained by the fact that the separation of the individual sciences from philosophy had largely not yet taken place, but one can also see in it an anticipation of the philosophy of work or the philosophy of technology .

The political scientist Johann Beckmann is considered to be the founder of the German-language concept of technology . After brief mentions of the word in 1769 and 1772, Beckmann published the book Instructions for Technology, or for Knowledge of Crafts, Factories and Manufactures in 1777 . In it Beckmann says: "Technology is the science that teaches the processing of natural products, or the knowledge of handicrafts" (ibid., P. 17). At this point he only mentions the crafts and not, like Wolff, their products; However, he goes into this in numerous places in the book and later supplements his instructions with his own product information . At the same time, Beckmann's program was often received as if it were all about the theory of production processes and not also of technical products .

19th century

This view is in the foreground with Karl Marx , who is primarily concerned with the relationship between industrial labor and capital . "The principle [of modern industry] to dissolve every production process [...] into its constituent elements, created the very modern science of technology". On the other hand, he also developed a much more far-reaching, so-to-speak socio-theoretical concept: "Technology reveals man's active behavior towards nature, the immediate production process of his life, and thus also his social living conditions and the spiritual ideas from which they spring".

Since the late 19th century, technology has become a special field in the engineering sciences that deals with processing and processing methods. One speaks of mechanical , chemical , food technology , etc., thus expressly restricting the term to the teaching of production processes.

20th century

In the German Democratic Republic , the technical tradition in connection with a related understanding of Marx led to technology being understood solely in the sense of "production theory" and even medium-sized skilled workers in industry (production planners, work planners , etc.) to be called technologists . In a definition that was worked out by the Faculty of Technology at the Technical University of Dresden in December 1960, it reads: "Technology is the science of the natural-scientific and technical laws of production processes." technical sciences, which has the material-technical side of the production process, the technological process, as its object. ”Departments for production planning and work preparation in state- owned companies were usually also referred to as technology .

In West Germany , under the influence of English (wrong translation of English technology ), a largely unspecific use of the word that means more or less the same thing as technology has spread in politics, business and the media since the 1960s . So z. For example, in product advertising, technology is often referred to as technology instead of technology in order to make a technical product appear more valuable. For example, when someone speaks of “the latest technology” in connection with vehicles, they actually mean vehicle technology .

In English, especially with American influences, the actually existing word technics as a counterpart to German technology is completely uncommon. Everything correctly in the German technology is, is in English technology called. Therefore, the term technology is often used incorrectly for technology . The range of meanings of the English technology is much broader than that of technology : It ranges from technology to device, tool, method, computer program to technical systems and processes . Accordingly, care should be taken when translating from English into German.

Current trends

In the meantime there has been a certain response to take up the word meaning from the 18th century and to define technology as “the science of technology”.

According to a suggestion by Johann Beckmann, the term encompasses general technology (transdisciplinary technology research and engineering) and special technologies (the individual technical-scientific disciplines).


With regard to the product life cycle and the market potential , three types of technology can be distinguished, namely basic technologies , key technologies and pacemaker technologies . Basic technologies are in the maturity phase of their life cycle, key technologies are subject to a phase of market growth , pacemaker technologies are problem solutions and are still in the early stage of product development . “Killer technologies” are technologies that, when they are ready for the market, replace the existing technologies and key technologies as substitutes .

Technologies can complement each other ( complementary technologies ) such as computer technology and the Internet , have a competitive relationship with one another ( competing technologies , substitution technologies ) such as analog technology and digital technology or have a neutral relationship to one another (this includes the so-called neighboring technologies ). In addition, a distinction can be made between specific technologies that can only be used in a narrowly defined area of ​​activity in an industry, and cross-sectional technologies with cross-industry effects.

application areas

Current areas of application of the technology are biotechnology , bionics , electromobility , energy technology , genetic engineering , beverage technology , information and communication technology , artificial intelligence , food technology , microelectronics , nanotechnology , robotics , water and wastewater technology .

See also


Technology criticism:

Web links

Wiktionary: Technology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Pape , Max Sengebusch (arrangement): Concise dictionary of the Greek language . 3rd edition, 6th impression. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914 (digitized version : τεχνο-λογία [accessed on July 20, 2020]).
  2. ^ Wilhelm Pape , Max Sengebusch (arrangement): Concise dictionary of the Greek language . 3rd edition, 6th impression. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914 (digitized version : τέχνη [accessed on July 20, 2020]).
  3. ^ Wilhelm Pape , Max Sengebusch (arrangement): Concise dictionary of the Greek language . 3rd edition, 6th impression. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914 (digitized version : λόγος [accessed on July 20, 2020]).
  4. ^ Henry George Liddell , Robert Scott : A Greek-English Lexicon . Oxford, 1940, p. 1785; compare digitized version τεχνολογ-ία ( accessed July 20, 2020).
  5. Gabler's economic dictionary . Volume 5, Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler, 1984, Sp. 1580.
  6. ^ Luitpold Uhlmann, The Innovation Process in West European Industrial Countries , Volume II, 1978, p. 41
  7. ^ Johann Heinrich Zedler : Large complete universal dictionary. Halle 1732 ff., Cited. n. A. Timm: Brief history of technology. Stuttgart 1964, p. 44.
  8. ^ Christian Wolff: Philosophia Rationalis sive Logica. Frankfurt / Leipzig, 1740, p. 33; translated from Latin.
  9. ^ Wilhelm Franz Exner: Johann Beckmann, founder of technological science. Vienna 1878, p. 8.
  10. Göttingen, several editions and reprints, last 6th edition Göttingen 1809; quoted from the unauthorized reprint Vienna 1789.
  11. ^ Johann Beckmann: Preparation for the commodity knowledge. 2 volumes. Göttingen 1793/1800.
  12. ^ Karl Marx: The capital. Volume 1, In: Marx / Engels Works (MEW). Volume 23, Berlin 1959 a. ö, p. 510.
  13. ^ Karl Marx: The capital. Volume 1, p. 393, fn. 89.
  14. Harald Perner: Technology and machines for yarn production. Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 1969, p. 17.
  15. Gerhard Banse, Bernd Thiele: Technology. In: Herbert Hörz, Rolf Löther, Siegfried Wollgast (eds.): Dictionary of philosophy and natural sciences. Berlin (East) 1978, p. 911; similarly also H. Wolffgramm: Allgemeine Technologie. Leipzig 1978.
  16. ^ Johann Beckmann: Draft of the general technology. Göttingen 1806.
  17. For example Günter Ropohl : General Technology. 3. Edition. Karlsruhe 2009, p. 32, also G. Banse et al.: Recognize and shape. A theory of engineering science. Berlin 2006, p. 337.
  18. Tom Sommerlatte / Jean-Philippe Deschamps, The strategic use of technologies . In: Arthur D. Little International (Ed.): Management in the Age of Strategic Leadership. 1986, p. 50 f.
  19. ^ Martin K. Welge: Planning: Processes - Strategies - Measures . 1992, p. 270 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  20. Jörg Horstmann: Operationalization of corporate flexibility . 2007, p. 147 FN 484 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  21. René Perillieux, The time factor in strategic technology management , 1987, p. 13
  22. Hans-Gerd Servatius, Methodology of Strategic Technology Management , 1985, p. 273 f.
  23. Martin Hinsch, Jens Olthoff, Impulsgeber Luftfahrt , 2013, p. VI ( limited preview in the Google book search).