Automaton: The effects of technology on human behavior

It seems ever popular for people to talk about the pace of technological development, which begs the question, is technology adapting to human needs? Well the needs of a dominant minority anyway.

20th century French philosopher Jacques Ellul spoke of ‘La Technique’ which infers a gradual, unconscious adaptation of human behavior and human expectations to the functioning of machines. I don’t think it is even necessary to point out the surge in people’s dependency on technology, whether smartphones or email, without these something as essential as finding work is made problematic.

Unbeknownst to the earth’s well-fed, first world populous, whom tend to inhabit a sort of bubble…human history is for it’s greater part, a story of survival. For the control freak, a society whose sustenance or, stated more directly, survival, demands submission to a ruthlessly efficient, centralised, bureaucratic network, is a dream come true, and the movers and shakers of the corporate world aren’t exactly the most benevolent bunch. Ultimately though, what course life takes is down to the individual, within the conscious individual there is no inevitable submission to a techno-economic society, or anyone else’s will for that matter.

The detrimental effects of technology on human life is a major taboo in the 21st century, and it can be scarcely broken without reprisal. Those who can’t bear any criticism, tend to react (reflexively) in a defensive manner, as if they themselves were being accused of something horrendous. I’m sure even in myself there would be an unconscious drive to sell the wonders of whichever gadget to a person of a self-sustaining community such as among the inuit or mongolian reindeer herders, with postulations of superiority in the back of my mind. It’s an unsettling realisation that our human condition is being dominated by technology. The very thought that ‘perhaps there is another way…’ stirs within most quite bitter, resentful sentiment.


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