unnecessary necessities

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Communications and Technology
Tags: , ,

David Nye writes in Technology Matters: Questions to live with, that technology is certainly not a new concept as many of us consider it -as digital technology – and that for centuries we have been coming up with answers to questions we have yet to even ask. At first I found that a little hard to wrap my head around, I wondered why anyone would invent something without a definite need for it’s supposed purpose – but, then I remembered that logic is a foreign concept to most people in our society.

Are we headed toward a technological utopia? Does technology automatically equal progress? I can’t even imagine how people can look at technology and be blind to the effects it has had on our social skills, our relationships, our jobs, our education – our entire lives are dependent on it. While I can see there are two sides to this coin, and that technology has certainly helped us in a lot of ways, at this moment I can only think of the harm it causes by turning us into virtual machines expected to be “on” and accessible 24/7.  If you ask me, we’re heading toward a technological dystopia.

(Untitled Image of Dystopia, n.d.)

How do you feel about being expected to answer your phone, text messages, e-mails, and voice mails immediately after you receive them? This form of communication is by nature asynchronous, however, we treat it as if it can be synchronous – and I don’t know about you, but I definitely do feel the pressure to be accessible all the time.


Nye, D.E. (2006). Technology Matters: Questions to Live With. Available from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/camosun/docDetail.action?docID=10173620

  1. Mel J says:

    I think technology is wrapped up in the consumerism wheel. Technology is often created, and then the void is marketed through societal pressures. Technology does not always equal progress, it is too wrapped up in making profit. How much of our landfills are now electronics? If something is to be progressive, it should be built to last, to be updated and reusable, but the newest this or that comes out every month and the old one is trashed. In our current society technology = profit, not progress. At least when it comes to communicating.
    I do feel the pressure to be accessible all the time. I do my best to rebel against social communication forms like facebook and consequently often feel ‘left out’. However, I do this for a reason, MANY reasons. I prefer communicating with a person face to face, in an environment that facilitates real conversations, not updates like ‘Melanie is eating her breakfast, cheerios r good’. I actually enjoy weekends without cell service where I am forced to interact with those nearest to me instead of raptly staring at my txt inbox like a zombie. At the same time, I still do participate in (and enjoy) texting. It is convenient- I can reply at my liesure, send a quick message when I can’t phone, or stay in touch without a long distance bill. But it is still, as with all technological forms of communications, it is impersonal and a poor substitute for real human interaction.

  2. You hit the nail right on the head saying that technology=profit, and not progress. Communicating with technology can be very impersonal and be a poor substitute for real human interaction, but I think depending on the individual it can actually facilitate communication. Me, for example, I am shy to the extreme of being mute in large social gatherings – yet with technology I can broadcast my thoughts and opinions literally internationally. There is a limit though, to how much tech can actually help.. and it’s quite obvious how much it harms us -socially and environmentally in particular, you are definitely right about the landfills.

    A sad thing, that with all the new inventions that are thrown at us each day we cannot even see that with progress should come sustainability.

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