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15 Words to Describe Technology & Users

In today’s world, nobody can deny that technology plays an essential role in our lives. From smartphones to computers to brand-new AI advancements, technology is truly all around us. New products and software are constantly being released and are often the subject of news headlines. This is why it is important to know how to talk about these useful devices. Whether you are a tech expert or a complete beginner, the words we will look at today will help you hold a smooth conversation on any topic that revolves around technology. In addition, we will explore some tech-related terms that can be used to describe people. So, let’s find out together how tech-savvy you are! 

See also: 12 Common Internet Acronyms in English

  1. Retro

Before we dive into the complexities of modern-day technology, let’s take it back in time. “Retro” is a fantastic adjective used for old technology that gives us a warm and nostalgic feeling. Generally speaking, any item older than 20 years can be considered retro. This includes music, art, fashion, and decor. When it comes to technology, however, we often imagine pieces from the 90’s. Some examples include cassette players, the Nintendo GameBoy, bulky mobile phones with long antennae, and flip phones. In addition to being old, retro technology also holds a special place in our hearts as we reminisce about the old days. 

E.g., “I wish I could go back in time and play some of the retro arcade games from my childhood. ”

  1. Old-school

“Old-school” is another way to talk about old technology. This means that the technology is no longer widely used today and does not have any modern features. Despite being outdated, some people remain fans of old-school technology, perhaps due to its simplicity and ease of use. When we use old-school in this context, we are often appreciating the person’s commitment to their traditional ways. Therefore, the connotation is mostly positive. 

E.g., “I’m not a big fan of online movie streaming services. I prefer buying old-school DVDs.”

  1. Obsolete

When a piece of technology becomes obsolete, it becomes entirely replaced by something new. Unlike retro or old-school technology that we can still enjoy for fun or fashion, obsolete technology is no longer compatible with modern standards. These pieces of technology will no longer be manufactured, making it difficult to purchase them and use them in our daily lives. Oftentimes, after becoming obsolete, these items disappear forever. Examples include floppy disks for storage since the invention of flash drives and telegraphs following the invention of telephones. 

E.g., “The invention and popularization of mobile phones made pagers obsolete.”

  1. Disruptive

Disruption is an event that causes the interruption of ongoing activities. Similarly, disruptive technology leads to dramatic changes in certain markets by disturbing the current traditional methods and practices. It threatens the existing business models and conventional ways. For example, online streaming services, such as Netflix, have completely changed the landscape of the movie-watching market. Sales of cable television subscriptions have dramatically decreased since the appearance of streaming services. Despite the big impact, the word “disruptive” can sometimes have negative connotations, especially for those who were adversely affected by the creation of the new technology. 

E.g., “The development of ridesharing platforms, such as Uber, has been very disruptive to the operations of traditional taxi companies.”

See also: Ways to Describe Intelligent People

  1. Innovative

Innovative ideas are brand new. These are never-seen-before processes, software, and breakthroughs that lead to large-scale advancements in the field of technology. Innovation seeks to push the boundaries beyond those that exist today. Over time, innovative technology slowly becomes a regular part of our lives. For example, recent innovative tech includes artificial intelligence, chatbots, and 3D printing. 

E.g., “Innovative methods in the field of medicine, such as robotic surgery, have significantly improved patients’ care.”

  1. Revolutionary

Revolutionary technology causes massive positive changes in the world on a large scale. While disruptive technology influences only certain markets or segments, revolutionary technology forces us to entirely rethink our existing ways to adapt to it. In addition, innovation happens gradually, but a revolution takes us by surprise. A good example of this is the iPhone. Back in 2006, we could have never imagined that we would have the entire world at our fingertips the following year. People were used to using physical cameras, telephones, computers, and fitness accessories as separate pieces of technology. The invention of the iPhone turned all of these industries upside down. 

E.g., “Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are a revolutionary approach in the financial system.”

  1. Cutting-edge 

If we describe technology as “cutting-edge,” we want to highlight its experimental nature. In this case, the “edge” refers to the sharpest point at the very end of a knife. Cutting-edge technology is often the product of extensive and costly research and development that takes place in large companies. If a company succeeds at creating a brand-new cutting-edge piece of technology, it can enjoy great profits and brand exposure from it. This phrase is also frequently used in the medical and scientific community.

E.g., “Many scientists and pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop a cutting-edge vaccine for cancer.” 

  1. User-friendly 

A machine or software being user-friendly is key when delivering it to the mass market. The majority of people do not have the advanced IT skills necessary to navigate a complex system, nor is it necessary for everyday items. For example, when building a self-checkout machine for the grocery store, the customer needs to be able to understand this technology in a simple way. User-friendly technology is straightforward and offers clear instructions to the user. 

E.g., “Google offers a simple and user-friendly search engine that can be used by anyone, regardless of their IT abilities.”

  1. State-of-the-art

State-of-the-art is a highly positive phrase used to describe a product or a facility that uses the latest and most sophisticated technology. The key nuance of this phrase is the high level of excellence associated with it–everything about it would include the most efficient, novel, and advanced methods. For example, a pharmaceutical company could proudly boast about building a state-of-the-art laboratory. 

E.g., “All of our cars are fitted with state-of-the-art stereo systems for the ultimate listening experience.”

  1. Top-of-the-line

The expression “top-of-the-line” can be used to describe the highest tier of excellence among available products. Unlike the previous vocabulary on this list, “top-of-the-line” does not necessarily imply cutting-edge innovation. It is simply the best option on the market compared to other line-ups from competitors. It is important to note that we can use this expression for anything, not only technology. However, it is frequently used when talking about consumer electronics and kitchen appliances. Due to its positive connotation, it is commonly used by salespeople when persuading potential customers. 

E.g., “Can I interest you in our new, top-of-the-line range of washing machines today?”

  1. Next-gen

Next-gen is short for next-generation. These are the products that we are excitedly expecting to be released in the near future. These next-gen releases are usually not disruptive or revolutionary. Instead, they build on existing models by adding new features. For example, even though the PlayStation 5 was only released in 2020, many tech enthusiasts are already speculating about what the next-gen PlayStation 6 will look like. 

E.g., “I wonder what the next-gen Samsung Galaxy phones will look like and if they will have any cool new features!”

  1. Tech-savvy 

A person who is tech-savvy is someone who is good at and enjoys using technology. These people often have no problem understanding new technology and pick it up fairly quickly. In addition, they can also customize and modify settings to achieve the top performance of their devices and software. Tech-savvy users approach technology fearlessly and genuinely enjoy learning more about it. Moreover, this is a useful word to gently express a lack of IT abilities by saying “not tech-savvy.”

E.g., “Having used technology from a young age, generation Z is much more tech-savvy than the rest of the population.”

E.g., “My elderly mother is not the most tech-savvy person. I often have to help her access her email account on her computer.” 

  1. Digital native

 “Digital native” is a fairly recent expression that was coined in 2001. Anyone who has been exposed to technology from birth can be considered a digital native. Generation Z and Generation Alpha, as well as a portion of younger millennials, can all be considered digital natives. These users are able to integrate technology into their daily routines with ease. Due to the fact that they grew up with technology all around them, digital natives welcome technological changes and advancements without hesitation. 

E.g., “The digital native kids in the classroom easily helped the older teacher connect her laptop to the projector.”

  1. Early adopter

“Early adopters” are a crucial demographic for companies to capture. When new technology is released, a large portion of the population often remains skeptical about the utility or the price of the gadget. Early adopters, on the other hand, are more than happy to try out and test the latest releases. This provides valuable feedback for its creators, too. For example, a lot of people are on the fence about Apple’s new virtual reality headset, mostly because it retails at such a high price. However, early adopters are jumping at the opportunity to buy and explore this innovative product. 

E.g., “Early adopters played a vital role in helping the smartwatch market grow.”

  1. Geek 

Traditionally, geek is a slang term for someone who is really knowledgeable about or fascinated with a specific topic. It originally carried a negative connotation and was used to tease people who enjoyed academic studies. However, nowadays, “geek” can be used to positively talk about your favorite hobbies. For example, if you greatly enjoy riding on or taking photos of trains, you can call yourself a “train geek.” Similarly, tech geeks are extremely passionate about new gadgets and devices.  

E.g., “My husband is such a tech geek. He’s always studying the latest coding methods and programs for fun in his free time.”

Wrapping up this article, we can now see how these words may come in handy in everyday conversation. Hopefully, the next time your buddies want to hear your thoughts about the latest Apple products or AI tools, you can refer to this list to help you out. From nostalgic favorites to cutting-edge gadgets, we hope you have fun including today’s vocabulary in your everyday life!

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