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High tech

The term high tech refers to technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced technology currently available. It is often used in reference to micro-electronics, rather than other technologies. The adjective form is hyphenated: high-tech or high-technology. (There is also an architectural style known as high tech.)

There is no specific class of technology that is high tech the definition shifts over time so products hyped as high tech in the past may now be considered low tech or obsolete. This vague definition has led to marketing departments describing nearly all new products as high tech. Today, appliances and devices that incorporate advanced computer electronics are often considered "high tech".


Origin of the term

In a search of the best New York Times articles, the first occurrence of the phrase "high tech" occurs in a 1950s story advocating "atomic energy" for Europe:[1] "...Western Europe, with its dense population and its high technology..." The twelfth occurrence, in 1968, is, significantly, in a story about Route 128, described as Boston's "Golden Semicircle":

By April 1969, Robert Metz was using it in a financial column Arthur H. Collins of Collins Radio "controls a score of high technology patents in variety of fields."[2] Metz used the term frequently thereafter; a few months later he was using it with a hyphen, saying that a fund "holds computer peripheral... business equipment, and high-technology stocks."[3] Its first occurrence in the abbreviated form "high tech" occurred in a Metz article in 1971.[4]


Because the high-tech sector of the economy develops or uses the most advanced technology known, it is often seen as having the most potential for future growth. This perception has led to high investment in high-tech sectors of the economy. High-tech startup enterprises receive a large portion of venture capital; However, if investment exceeds actual potential, as has happened in the past, then investors can lose all or most of their investment. High tech is often viewed as high risk, but offering the opportunity for high profits.

Like Big Science, high technology is an international phenomenon, spanning continents, epitomized by the worldwide communication of the Internet. Thus a multinational corporation might work on a project 24 hours a day, with teams waking and working with the advance of the sun across the globe; such projects might be in software development or in the development of an integrated circuit. The help desks of a multinational corporation might thus employ, successively, teams in Kenya, Brazil, the Philippines, or India, with the only requirement fluency in the mother tongue, be it Spanish, Portuguese or English.

OECD has two different approaches: sector and product (industry) approaches.

High-tech sectors

The sector approach classifies industries according their technology intensity, product approach according to finished products.

High-tech industries

Further analysis from OECD has indicated that using research intensity as an industry classification indicator is also possible. The OECD does not only take the manufacturing but also the usage rate of technology into account. The OECD's classification is following (stable since 1973):

Industry name Total R&D-intensity (1999, in %) ISIC Rev. 3
Pharmaceuticals 10.46 2423
Aircraft & spacecraft 10.29 353
Medical, precision & optical instruments 9.69 33
Radio, television & communication equipment 7.48 32
Office, accounting & computing machinery 7.21 30
Electrical machinery & apparatus 3.60 31
Motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers 3.51 34
Railroad & transport equipment 3.11 352+359
Chemical & chemical products 2.85 24 (excl. 2423)
Machinery & equipment 2.20 29

Furthermore, OECD s product-based classification supports the technology intensity approach. It can be concluded, that companies in a high-technology industry do not necessary produce high-technology products and vice versa. This creates a problem of aggregation.

High-tech society

An overall society based in high-tech is something generally unattainable by the definition comprising its scarcity among every technology available. Many countries and regions like United States, Singapore, Canada, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Australia, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Brazil and France can be in general considered high-tech societies in relation to other countries, since it is common for its citizens having access to technology that is presently at the cutting edge, in consumer's terms, as can parts of India (Bangalore, Mumbai) and China (Shanghai, Beijing). Research oriented institutions such as ESA, MITRE, NASA, CERN, and universities with high research activity such as MIT and Stanford might be considered high-tech microsocieties in relation to the general surrounding socio-economic region or overall activity sector.

Some geographical areas can be consider as a high-tech startups society like for instance the Silicon Valley:

An organization's department dealing with the latest technology in their projects, may also be considered a high-tech microsociety within the organization's and partners' scope. Students and faculty related with ENAEE or ABET accredited programs might be considered high-tech society members, regarding other traditional degrees. In industry, companies working in the leading edge may be considered high-tech societies along with its main competitors, regarding the rest of the sectorial competition.

See also


External links

ar: bg: cs:Hi-tech de:Hochtechnologie et:K rgtehnoloogia es:Alta tecnolog a fa: fr:Techniques de pointes ko: io:Alta teknologio it:Alta tecnologia he: - kk:High tech mk:High technology nl:Hightech (industrie) ja: pl:Nowe technologie pt:Alta tecnologia ro: nalt tehnologie ru: sk:High tech (modern technika) sv:H gteknologi uk: ur: vi:C ng ngh cao zh:

Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

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