Over the past 16 years, the state of laser technology has advanced from the level of the initial demonstration to the myriad of uses that exist today. What the future holds for the uses of lasers can only be guessed at by extrapolation. Lasers have already become an integral part of modern technology, and their number of uses is still expanding rapidly. This paper presents an in-depth overview of laser technology -past, present, and future. The history of the laser and its applications are covered, from the original demonstration to the present, with emphasis on the influence that basic laser studies and laser applications has had on each other.