High tech

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High tech is 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 1960s would now be considered, if not exactly low tech, then at least somewhat obsolete. This fuzzy definition has led to Export marketing departments describing nearly all new products as high tech.


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.



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