People influence how technology is developed in order to suit their own wants and needs; however, technological developments can change people's lifestyle and behaviours.
Research and development in science and industry can lead to new discoveries, which can be used to improve existing products or develop new ones. This is known as technology push, and it happens before there is consumer demand for a product. Research and development is valuable for companies who are the first to introduce a new, innovative product. Smartphones are an example of a product developed due to technology push, where existing touchscreen technology was used to improve the mobile phone market.
Market pull is when product ideas are produced in response to market forces or customer needs. Examples of this include the development of cameras, which have become smaller, more lightweight and higher performing as a result of customer needs.
The rapid changes in technology and automation in recent years have meant a decline in the need for traditional skills. Rather than facing unemployment, workers have had to be retrained or ‘up-skilled’ to manage the new technologies. Examples of this include robotics, where an employee needs to understand how a robot is programmed and can be controlled to perform a task such as welding, rather than perform the manual skill of welding themselves.