We humans are paradoxical. On the one hand, our fragility and our special needs make us seem ill-suited to living on planet Earth. On the other hand, we are one of the most evolutionary species of mammals; our population is in the billions and we have colonized every continent.
The fact that humanity is prosperous in number of inhabitants is mainly due to the fact that we have developed a unique ability to use the potential of the environment and modify it so that it meets our needs and strategic objectives.
In this article, we will distinguish the two phenomena that made this possible: we will see the differences between science and technology, Which allow us to better understand nature and to use this knowledge for practical purposes inside and outside laboratories.
The main differences between science and technology
Below we’ll look at the aspects that distinguish technology from science, but keep in mind that, in a way, there are patches of human activity in which the two go hand in hand and in which the difference is only given in a theoretical sense.
1. One allows to know, the other to modify
Science is a way of generate knowledge about nature, Regardless of whether this information is applied in practice or not.
Technology, on the other hand, is an improvement process based on the manipulation of nature. This means that the use of technology generally only provides knowledge about itself, and not about what exists independently of human action.
2. The technology can be tested easily
It is easy to know whether the technological development processes end up fulfilling their objectives or not, as they point to specific needs: for example, to develop a car capable of reaching a certain speed for a certain time consuming less fuel than its analogues. By means of objective measurements, it is possible to know whether this has happened in the target.
As for science, on the other hand, there is a large one ambiguity as to whether a scientific project has met expectations. The reason is that science never fully achieves its goals, since all explanations of reality it provides are provisional and not definitive.
3. Science is relatively young, technology is old
While it is commonly believed that technology has to do with computers and the latest electronic and biomedical advancements in general, the truth is that the use of technology has been around for thousands of years. For example, the use of fire for heating or cooking is considered an example of technology, and it is believed to have been carried out even by other species of the genus Homo that existed long before us.
Science, on the other hand, appeared after the end of the Middle Ages, although before this historical point there were interesting precedents.
4. Technology seeks efficiency, not science
The goals of science go far beyond the most efficient use of resources. This is why explanations of reality are often offered which clash completely with what is established above and which generally cause problems in the intellectual sense, as long as it is constantly emphasized that the theories accepted so far are incorrect or insufficient.
In technology, on the other hand, what has no obvious practical advantages tends to be misplaced. for other projects.
5. One part of the conceptions, the other part of the theories
In the world of technology, which is essentially based on engineering, we work from designs. In science, on the other hand, it is based on theoretical theories and models, Which in themselves are not drawings but relations between ideas that do not even need to be expressed mathematically.
Its relationship with engineering
As we said, in many professional fields, science and technology go hand in hand. Engineering, but not a science in itselfThey rely on scientific research to find new avenues to efficiency. Science, on the other hand, can test theories thanks to the existence of certain technological options that allow expectations to be compared with reality.
On the other hand, it should be noted that if the existence of technology predates that of science, the first currently depends on the second, because in practice science it turned out to be a much more reliable way to create knowledge as their alternatives when it comes to generating useful information for engineering. Once the scientific revolution arose, it didn’t make sense to go back and create new tools and technical proposals to improve the quality of life, so to speak.