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 https://papers-writings.com/ where you can find her works. In her spare time she visits new places and goes in for sports.