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Scientists and engineers generally prefer to specify technology as used science, instead of as the things that individuals make and use. More recently, scholars have borrowed from European theorists of "method" to extend the significance of technology to various types of crucial factor, as in Foucault's deal with innovations of the self (strategies de soi). Dictionaries and scholars have used a range of definitions. The offers a definition of the term: "the use of science in industry, engineering, and so on, to create beneficial things or to resolve issues" and "a device, tool, technique, and so on, that is created by technology." Ursula Franklin, in her 1989 "Real Life of Technology" lecture, provided another definition of the concept; it is "practice, the method we do things around here." The term is typically used to suggest a particular field of innovation, or to describe high technology or just consumer electronics, rather than technology as a whole.

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In this usage, technology describes tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world problems. It is a significant term that may include basic tools, such as a crowbar or wood spoon, or more intricate machines, such as a spaceport station or particle accelerator. Tools and devices need not be product; virtual technology, such as computer software and business approaches, fall under this meaning of innovation. W. Brian Arthur defines innovation in a likewise broad way as "a means to satisfy a human function." The word "innovation" can likewise be utilized to describe a collection of strategies.

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When integrated with another term, such as "medical technology" or "area innovation," it describes the state of the particular field's knowledge and tools. "State-of-the-art innovation" refers to the high innovation readily available to humanity in any field. Innovation can be viewed as an activity that forms or alters culture. Furthermore, innovation is the application of mathematics, science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known. A modern example is the increase of communication innovation, which has lessened barriers to human interaction and as a result has actually assisted generate new subcultures; the rise of cyberculture has at its basis the advancement of the Web and the computer system.