From the discovery of fire, to the invention of the printing press and the development of AI, our tools have drastically altered the way we work, interact, relax, think. Marshall Mcluhan describes all technologies as “extensions of our physical and nervous systems.” He goes on to discusss how every extension or technology we adopt, in some way, alters the balance in our “whole psychic and social complex.” The invention of the wheel is an extension of our feet, but has implications far beyond transportation; community, culture, place have forever been altered by its development.
As an extension of ourselves, our tools are subtly recreating us into their own image, causing us to subconsciously adopt their inherent biases and values.
Although I often find myself critiquing technological developments, I am no luddite. I work in the technology industry and have seen countless benefits that technological development has brought to humanity, but the other edge of the sword often goes unnoticed. Technology fundamentally alters the core of our humanity in ways that we can never fully understand. Sociologist Jaques Ellul describes this in his book The Technological Society:
The machine tends not only to create a new human environment, but also to modify man’s very essence. The milieu in which he lives is no longer his. He must adapt himself, as though the world were new, to a universe for which he was not created. He was made to go six kilometers an hour, and he goes a thousand. He was made to eat when he was hungry and to sleep when he was sleepy; instead, he obeys a clock. He was made to have contact with living things, and he lives in a world of stone. He was created with a certain essential unity, and he is fragmented by all the forces of the modern world.
As extensions of ourselves, our tools are subtly recreating us into their own image, causing us to subconsciously adopt their inherent biases and values.
In this blog, I will explore society’s relationship with technology: emerging technologies along with old technologies, specific technologies along with the underlying philosophies that drive the creation and development of our tools.
Welcome. I hope you enjoy.