To be human involves more than just existing. We have a need to be a part of a group and to affiliate. Humans have a strong desire for affinity and socialization. We tend to like working in teams or as part of a group that is trying to enable something. We also have a desire to excel if that is in our individual makeup. There is no need though to be an Albert Einstein to excel. Everyone can do that within their own makeup.
To be happy humans also need purpose and meaning in their lives. They need something to hang on to or a purpose bigger than themselves. Struggling through a mess can be based on this higher level of purpose and meaning as identified by Jacques Ellul.
Intimacy and commitment to a significant other is also important. Having a family can prove extremely beneficial and might provide the higher purpose and meaning that is intrinsic to human happiness and for some the will to move on. Just to have friends is enough for others. Humanity though lives within a social context. Humanity can be drained from us just as assuredly as removing our social bonds.
Tech could be damaging many Human Values
Tech held out such promise for a healthier life that could be achieved through the assistance of its tools. However, we are seeing the signs of addiction to our technologies which works against the human quest for meaning and fulfilment. Any addiction can supersede logical goals that we need for contributing to humanity and being human.
If we consider mobile phones, which can be with us almost 24/7 addiction to these devices hampers human meaning and development. It is not unusual for a person who comes for a visit to have a terrible time putting their cellphone down for a few seconds to engage in socializing. This robs not only the individual addicted to the device of the greater meaning that comes about from the connection but the other individual too.
Is the Tech Assisting in the Way it Should
Further to the nightmare of having to deal with the addiction we also have to deal with the immediate consequences of the addiction. The device/s are intended to be tools that support our efforts in accomplishing things. However, what happens if people are just fiddling on the devices for no other reason than to use the device. What if the activity is completely pointless except that it allows the person to use the device. That is, rather being more productive we are less productive.
Only a Few of the Questions are Being Raised
There is so much more to the problem of the improper connection to tech. Ultimately, tech is robbing some of their humanity and is reducing them to be victims of the technology. Who is ultimately in control when our devices are the point of interaction rather than a tool to aid with productivity. Rather than freeing an individual to support the person’s progress and free them from the mundane, they are becoming too dependent on the tech and losing their connection with the values that lead to say meaning.
Ultimately, we could say that tech is robbing us or at least some of us of that which makes us human and thus fulfilled and happy. If we become obsessed with all the wrong activities, we loose the part of ourselves which defines our humanity. The consequences can be more negative than just playing with say a Smartphone in the wrong manner.
Deprived of true purpose and meaning in our lives we can succumb to both physical and mental illnesses which can even lead to death if we have nothing to hold onto. The problem which may not seem that serious in the beginning can turn and become very serious. It is important to understand the effects technology is having upon us and if used inappropriately the negative consequences not only to the individual but society as a whole. This area of technology’s impact is only beginning to be explored but in the long run much more research needs to be done in a serious manner.