Technology has roots as ancient as philosophy, with some of the earliest evidence dating from the ancient Greeks. The Greek word techne probably referred to the art of building a wooden house, but the term soon expanded to encompass specialized knowledge of working with wood and other materials. The term resembles the English word textile, which means “weaving.” The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus equated rhetoric and medicine as examples of technology, and the German philosopher Walter Sombart expanded the definition of technology to include the industrial arts.
Today, technology includes computers and software that run on them. These programs are designed to do a variety of tasks, but most of them aim to improve a user’s life or make a task easier. For example, word-processing software helps a person to create documents more easily and efficiently. Other forms of technology include audio and visual equipment, cameras, microphones, projectors, and other devices that capture and display various forms of audio and visual content.
Technology has deep societal implications. In some cases, it benefits human welfare, while in other instances it causes pollution or harms individuals and groups. In the 1970s, many people began to voice their concerns about how new technologies were impacting the environment. In response, the eco-village movement arose.