Technologies are those processes and entities that increase human productivity. For example, a human being can catch a fish with his bare hands (without technology), but with a spear, the process requires less effort and has a far greater probability of success, and with a net or fishing line and bait — and knowledge on how to use these tools effectively, the probabilities of success is even greater.

Technology (from the Greek word techne) refers to both those processes, developed by the use of reason, and the entities that result — that can be material tools (i.e., a hammer, i.e., ax), machines (i.e., rocket, i.e., printing press, i.e., computer), or immaterial (i.e., medical practices, CPR) — for a practical purpose: to advance human life.

[List some examples of what is and is not technology, including some hard cases.]

Historian Joel Mokyr defines technological progress as:

[…] any change in the application of information to the production process in such a way as to increase efficiency, resulting either in the production of a given output with fewer resources (i.e., lower costs), or the production of better or new products [Joel Mokyr, Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress (1992) 6].


Adam Thierer has a wonderful article on defining technology.