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Enslaving Effect of Technology

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Technology today is an indispensable element of the everyday life of majority of
people. It is hard to imagine people’s routine actions without technology. Starting from the
very morning the first thing that many people do is turn on the computer, even if there is no
direct reason for it. The coffee machine to make the morning drink, the toaster to prepare a
light breakfast, and a hairdryer to use after the shower are just random examples that do not
even begin to cover the range of technological advances that are being used by an average
person every day. The age of people has become irrelevant as well. Young and old alike,
humans engage in the interaction with technology much like they engage in the
communication with other human beings. Moreover, some of them even care about their
devices like they do for their friends. In the described bliss of modern existence it is difficult
to imagine how technology can be detrimental. In the bigger scheme of things, technology
enslaves people because it limits their free choice, seduces with new possibilities, and creates
a need for technical skills to function in the modern society.
First of all, technology nowadays has significantly limited the freedom of people to
make independent choices. Let us consider the following example. One of the aims of
technological devices is to create user-friendly interfaces and make it as easy as possible to
utilize a particular gadget. However, a person can sometimes be frustrated because the
program or a appliance does not allow to perform one function or the other. How often, for instance, do we encounter a situation when an interface simply does not have the desired
option? Coming back to the computers example, there is only a limited amount of actions one
can perform. Earlier the computer users had greater freedom but the machines were easier to
break. Nowadays one has to try really hard to break the computer (apart from dropping it
from a high place) but the freedom is sacrificed (Dobson, 2008). The operation system will
not allow some steps and the antivirus will not take a person to some websites. All these
minor observations point out to how people become dependent on their own inventions and
how technology enslaves its creators.
Furthermore, technology limits the freedom of a human being by continuously
decreasing the amount of thinking required to perform everyday tasks. Nowadays it is not
that crucial to think of a solution to a problem but rather to think of the device or program
that will solve it. Moreover, the nature of the contemporary inquiry, scholarly or not, involves
more superfluous tasks like skimming instead of deep slow reading. As the article “How to
Stop Being a Slave to Technology” says, “We’re losing our ability to think deeply because
smartphones and tablets encourage us to skim, scan and flick between competing sources of
content and entertainment” (Jones, 2012). In this way the attention is lost and thinking skills
deteriorate, which certainly is a prerequisite for a free choice.
Another example from statistics comes to mind. The programs that calculate different
variable relationships are readily available and there is no need to know the formulas. One
cannot but wonder how the researchers of the past managed with only calculators at their
disposal. In fact, it can be argued that they were better researchers because they understood
what formulas and measures they have to use and submerged into to essence of the process.
On the other hand, mindless choosing of statistical options in the program stupefies a person.
Similarly, the cars are now computer-managed making it virtually impossible to fix them independently (Dobson, 2008). This is the paradox of how great achievement of human mind causes damage to itself.
The second way in which technology enslaves people is by seducing them with a
variety of new possibilities. One of the most attractive features of technology is the ability to
stay in touch with different people regardless of their geographical location. In Jones’ article
this phenomenon is described as “the joy of connecting to anyone, anywhere using social
media and mobile devices” (Jones, 2012). Without a doubt, it is hard to forfeit such modern
advantage and this is precisely why technology has an enslaving effect. Few of us are
persuaded by the fact that comfort of technological advantages is more about added value
than meeting the needs.
While creating the additional value and quality to people’s lives not all technological
achievements really enhance the basic needs of humans. For example, the hair can dry
naturally if allowed some time; the report can be written using a pen and paper based on the
information searched in the library from actual books; the floor can be swept with a broom
and the clothes can be washed with one’s hands. The students nowadays do not take notes
because the slides will be available to them electronically. As a result, they hardly pay
attention to lectures (Jones, 2012). Because of the availability of technology people have
forgotten to a great extent that they are able to do a lot of things on their own, using the most
effective and readily available tool – our bodies.
The same notion can be illustrated by the fact that people change their devices based
not on need but on fashion. One study showed that people change telecommunications
carriers because they simply want new ones. Moreover, data suggests that Apple sold 100
million iPads almost twice as faster as it sold the same amount of iPhones earlier (Jones,
2012). It means that with each new device it takes less time for people to buy it, which certainly does not mean that the older device stopped working. It simply means that people
follow trends rather than their need. Rational thinking is now often replaced with frenzy of
consumption and possession up to the point when a person feels forced to continue buying
new devices. This is how people become slaves of technology.
Finally, it is logical to look at the existing society as whole in order to understand why
technology is thought to be so important. With the industrial revolution earlier in history and
modern technological know-how the humanity entered a kind of a vicious circle. The more
technology is created and improved the more we are required to change our skills and
become technologically-savvy. This in turn allows us to produce more gadgets based on our
improved knowledge and understanding. Eventually it may cause ridiculous situations where
technology is not available. It becomes an embarrassment to go to a country where there is no
Internet coverage, for instance, and be unable to look up how to repair a chair. Although the
example is trivial it is at the same time rather descriptive of the dangers inherent in excessive
use of technology. On the other hand, it is equally uncomfortable to be expected to use
certain programs at work that one is not aware of.
Technology is one of the inventions of human beings that has a real danger of turning
from a neutral thing to a damaging master of humanity. In fact, with all the apparent
possibilities of technology use human beings continuously fall into the sweet slavery of
gadgets and applications without even noticing the growing dependence on these material
creations. In order to avoid this pitfall people need to constantly ask themselves whether it is
a need or a whimsy that drives them to buy another appliance. Open-minded awareness of the
pros and cons of technology is a key to wise and balanced life where a person does not fall
victim to it.

About the author: Ann Brown is currently working on this site where you can find her works. In her spare time she visits new places and goes in for sports.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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