High technology (high tech) or frontier technology (frontier tech) is technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced 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.[better source needed]
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: "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 is provided by the OECD. It is based on the intensity of research and development activities used in these industries within OECD countries, resulting in four distinct categories.
Startups working on high technologies (or developing new high technologies) are sometimes referred to as deep tech; the term may also refer to disruptive technologies based on scientific discoveries in several branches.
High-tech, as opposed to high-touch, may refer to self-service experiences that do not require human interaction.