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Limitations of Technology: Natural, Economic, and Ethical

Stephanie Vonfintel, David Wood
  • Author
    Stephanie Vonfintel

    Stephanie has taught Accounting in College for over five years. She has a Master of Science in Accounting from Walsh College and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Northwood University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

  • Instructor
    David Wood

    David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Review natural, economic, and ethical limitations of technology. Discover what the cons of technology have been, and see why there are disadvantages to technology. Updated: 11/11/2022

Table of Contents


Defining Technology

Technology is not something new in this generation or past generations. Although the term was coined relatively recently, generations of humans long ago had the technology, too. Technology is the practical use of scientific knowledge for a specific purpose. Any knowledge obtained, tested, and shown to be a fact is scientific knowledge. Therefore, technology has existed since the beginning of man, although it was not as advanced as today.

Examples of Technology

Technology has existed since the Stone Age. The Stone Age was an era when technology was mainly made from stone, such as housing and common tools. Technology has evolved drastically since then, and the list of examples consistently grows longer. Here are a few:

  • Computers are the most recent and typical example of modern technology. They help people with processing and storing data.
  • Air conditioning, which regulates temperatures within a specific area, is another prime example of modern technology.
  • Using trees to make shelters is an example of technology used in the past and currently.
  • Spears were invented when people discovered iron. Though primarily used as weapons in the past, some communities still use them today.

Despite popular belief, technology does not have to be modern or electronic. If it offers a practical purpose to human life, it is technology.

A spear used by Phung Nguyen Culture

A vintage image of an ancient spear that seems to be made from iron or stone

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  • 0:03 What Is Technology?
  • 1:04 Limits on Technology
  • 1:48 Natural Limits
  • 2:47 Economic Limits
  • 3:49 Ethical Limits
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
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Disadvantages of Technology

Technology has brought humanity uncountable advantages and is responsible for the fast-paced progress of today's world. On the other hand, technology has its cons. These cons include:

  • Technology being used for negative purposes, such as hacking. Hacking and phishing are global threats to most organizations and companies using computer-based technology.
  • Limitations placed on technology. Governments worldwide have set limits on destructive technology, such as nuclear bombs. One such bomb was the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
  • Heightened technological dependency. Many people in the developed world are overly-reliant on gadgets, such as phones, tablets, computers, and games. A reliance on smartphones for alarms, calendar tracking, clocks, and other features is prominent in these societies.
  • Increased spending. For example, using washing machines costs more than handwashing.

Many other disadvantages exist that affect individuals, businesses, stakeholders, and the environment.

Little Boy nuclear bomb is an example of limited technology

A black and white image of the Little Boy nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima

Limitations of Technology

Humanity relies more on technology than ever before, and new technology is developed daily. Nonetheless, there are certain limitations to the technology. The three main limitations are economic, ethical, and natural limits. Some of these limitations result from how people think or government restrictions.

Knowledge of the limitations of technology is essential for inventors, stakeholders, and buyers. Inventors seeking to develop new technologies face economic or ethical limitations which may prevent their venture from succeeding. Buyers who purchase technologies with ethical concerns may face discrimination from some societies. Additionally, stakeholders who invest in projects with natural, ethical, or economic limitations risk losing their assets.

Natural Limitations of Technology

Technology is, at times, faced with natural limitations. Natural limits are also known as hard limits. Hard limits include the things that technology cannot simply do. In some cases, hard limits may not remain forever as the universe changes and more advanced technology surfaces. For example, the laws of physics state that the fastest speed is that of light. There has not been any technology to surpass it yet. Therefore, that can be considered one of the natural limitations of technology.

Another limitation is that technology cannot be true and untrue simultaneously. Facts state that there cannot be something between false and true. Consequently, a technology that consumes all of the land cannot protect the same land.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four disadvantages of technology?

The first disadvantage is that people can use technology for negative reasons. Secondly, technology has a few limitations, such as nuclear weapons. Third, technology has increased people's dependency on it. Lastly, technology has increased the financial spending of most people since most are very costly.

Why is it important to know the limitations of technology?

Knowledge of technological limitations helps stakeholders know the risks of investing in a particular technology. In addition, buyers with such knowledge can avoid societal discrimination by avoiding technology with ethical limitations. Lastly, any inventor knows the risks of inventing specific technology on finances.

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