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The 5 differences between science and technology

The 5 differences between science and technology

May 3, 2024

Human beings are paradoxical. On the one hand, our fragility and special needs make us seem little adapted to live on planet Earth. On the other, we are one of the most successful mammal species evolutionarily; our population is counted by billions and we have colonized all the continents.

The fact that humanity is prosperous in number of inhabitants is mainly due to the fact that we have developed a unique capacity for use the potentialities of the environment and modify it so that it fits our needs and strategic purposes.

In this article we will distinguish the two phenomena that have made this possible: we will see the differences between science and technology , that allow us to know better the nature and to use this knowledge with practical purposes inside and outside the laboratories.


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The main differences between science and technology

Next we will see the aspects that allow to distinguish between technology and science, but bear in mind that, in certain way, there are plots of the human activity in which both go of the hand and in which, the difference only occurs in a sense theoretical.

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 to the practice or not.

Technology, on the other hand, consists of a process of improvement based on the manipulation of nature. That means that the use of technology usually only provides knowledge about itself, not about what exists independently of human action.


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2. The technology can be easily tested

It is easy to know if the processes of technological development end up fulfilling their objectives or not, since they point to specific needs: for example, developing a car capable of reaching a certain speed during a certain time consuming less fuel than its analogues. Through objective measurements you can know if it has hit the target.

As for science, on the other hand, there is a great ambiguity about whether a scientific project has met expectations . The reason for this is that science never fully meets its objectives, given that all explanations of the reality it provides are provisional, not definitive.

3. Science is relatively young, technology is old

Although popularly it is assumed that technology has to do with computers and the latest electronic and biomedical advances in general, the truth is that the use of technology has existed for thousands of years . For example, the use of fire for heating or cooking is considered a sample of technology, and it is believed that it was something that even other species of the homo genus that existed long before us did.


Science, on the other hand, arose after the end of the Middle Ages, although there were interesting precedents before that historical point.

4. Technology seeks efficiency, science does not

The objectives of science go far beyond the most efficient use of resources. That is why many times explanations of reality are proposed that completely clash with the previously established and that usually cause problems in an intellectual sense, provided that it is consistently stated that the theories accepted so far are erroneous or insufficient .

In technology, however, what does not present clear practical advantages tends to be displaced for other projects.

5. One part of designs, the other of theories

In the world of technology, which rests basically on engineering, we work from designs. In science, on the other hand, it is based on theories and theoretical models , which in themselves are not designs but relations between ideas that do not even have to be expressed in a mathematical way.

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Your relationship in engineering

As we have said, in many professional fields science and technology go hand in hand. Engineering, although they are not proper sciences , are based on scientific research to find new routes towards efficiency. Science, in turn, can test theories thanks to the existence of certain technological options that allow us to contrast expectations with reality.

On the other hand, it should be noted that although the existence of technology is prior to that of science, currently the first depends on the second, since in practice science has proven to be a much more reliable way of creating knowledge than its alternatives when generating useful information for engineering. Once the scientific revolution appeared, there was no point in looking back on the creation of new tools and technical proposals to improve the quality of life, so to speak.


Difference between Science and Technology (May 2024).


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