High technology (high tech), also known as advanced technology (advanced tech) or exotechnology, is
technology that is at the
cutting edge: the highest form of technology available. It can be defined as either the most complex or the newest technology on the market. The opposite of high tech is low technology, referring to simple, often traditional or mechanical technology; for example, a
slide rule is a low-tech calculating device. When high tech becomes old, it becomes low tech, for example
vacuum tube electronics.
The phrase was used in a 1958 The New York Times story advocating "
atomic energy" for Europe: "... Western Europe, with its dense population and its high technology ...." Robert Metz used the term in a financial column in 1969, saying Arthur H. Collins of
Collins Radio "controls a score of high technology patents in a variety of fields." and in a 1971 article used the abbreviated form, "high tech."
A widely used classification of high-technological manufacturing industries was provided by the
OECD in 2006. It is based on the intensity of research and development activities used in these industries within OECD countries, resulting in four distinct categories.