Are We Slaves to Technology?
Eliane Mitchell

07 June 2018

Smartphones are everywhere. In 2017, more than 67 percent of Americans owned a smartphone, and researchers expect that percentage only to increase over time. But how might this phenomenon, of always having our phones and access to social media at the tips of our fingers, impact the experience of being human? Should we be at all wary of technology's rapid rise?

Sherry Turkle, a sociologist at MIT, thinks so, arguing that technology is "transforming what it means to be human." In this interview with Vox, Turkle worries that our extensive use of technology might make us less empathic. This degradation results from two aspects: that social media and texting often replaces face-to-face communication, and that on sites like Facebook, users put out a "curated" version of themselves that excludes the imperfections of their lives. In this way, technology might actually get in the way of people's ability to forge "authentic" connections, since "being empathic" demands that we step outside of ourselves.

But what do you think? Do you suspect that technology is making us feel more alone and isolated too — and to our detriment?

Read Turkle's interview with Vox here:

Comments (2)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Thursday, June 7, 2018 -- 1:13 PM

Slaves to technology? Slavery

Slaves to technology? Slavery is usually thought of as servitude without consent, or some such assessment. The smartphone phenomenon is hardly slavery, because if people did not want it, they would not buy it (peer pressure, not withstanding). Addiction is a better description. Like cigarettes. Narcotics. Alcohol (for some). All of these generate wealth for the addictors and suffering for the addicts. So let's call it like we see it...

BG's picture


Friday, July 20, 2018 -- 10:07 AM

I agree with the first

I agree with the first comment about consenting to technology use, in opposition to slavery. Yet, my own observations and research reveal accelerating (exponential) technological change, and consequent information overload. Such changes limit our ability to adapt to the environment since changes in the environment occur at an ever faster rate than our ability to keep up. Eventually, self-control is increasingly limited.