“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
by Albert Einstein
Humanity. We like to think that it is the trait that makes us different. Special, human. Not a precisely defined trait, as it does not need to be as it is the set of values that we have grown to appreciate in society through the ages. Technology was also always a part of human life. Ever since the invention of the wheel and basic agriculture is has helped humans prosper and live their lives as they wish to. However, alongside technology, we have changed as well. Until very recently technological development was very slow. It took thousands of years for the average person’s lifestyle to change significantly and there was time for society to adjust. Technology developed alongside us and it was welcome. However, in recent human history, due to the mindblowing pace at which technology has been advancing, we have been left in the dust. We have no time to adapt and change our lifestyle in order to properly accommodate these changes in our lives. It is not humanity anymore which is the primary defining characteristic of humanity. It is technology, and it has taken us over.
I am a young adult, some might still call me a teenager, but I prefer the former. What do I see when I look around at a party? Many people choosing to interact with inanimate objects instead of experiencing fully what is happening around them. I am a victim of this behavior too. An interesting observation related to this is how this is not as large of an issue amongst older generations. Those who have been born into a world in which we have phones to partly automate and aid in actions such as social interactions have fallen into the trap of relying on technology too much. Our social media accounts are what defines us. We try to present the ideal version of ourselves so others can see that person instead of ourselves. Yes, social media and this type of automation bring many benefits such as organizing events, gatherings, staying in touch… However, the rate at which our society advanced was exceeded by the advancement rate of our technology, so we are stuck as slaves of our own devices.
Another case of technology overtaking us is evident in the fuel industry. Almost half a century after we have been using fossil fuels to power our world has society caught up and started noticing the consequences of such behavior. We are late to the party even though we’ve been using the technology for years.
In the end it seems as the rate of our social advancement is going to stagnate compared to the rate of technological advancements. We are already showered with technology we blatantly use and do not think through the consequences of this use. This leads to our reliance on technology reaching higher levels than it ever has before. I know I am completely dependent on my gadgets and could most definitely lead my current life without them. In this sense technology is as much of a defining trait of me as my humanity. Take any of those two away, and would I be able to be where I am without them? Probably not. Now the question is: Which one contributed more?
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