The term "High Technology"—often shortened to "High Tech"—was popularized in the late 1970s. It described the newest, "hottest" applications of technology to fields such as medical research, genetics, automation, communication systems, and computers. "High tech" was a buzz word primarily used by newspaper and television reporters; it rarely appeared in scientific, medical, or technological journals.
"High tech" initially referred to technologies that were geared to meet the information needs of society, as opposed to the material needs of heavy industry. By the mid-1980s the term had come to mean, primarily, the use of electronics (especially computers) to accomplish everyday tasks.
Sources: Considine, Glenn D. Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, 8th ed., vol. 1, p. 1452; Winkler, Connie. Careers in High Tech, p. 1.