Humans can be defined as the type that makes complex tools from raw materials. We started by using fire to cook food and make pots. Now we have machines that help us think, extract minerals, and explore other worlds. But is technology helping us or holding us back? Is there such a thing as too much technology?
The idea that mechanization and technology will give us free time to enjoy life is as old as technology itself. Using farm animals to cut fields saved a lot of hard work for humans. The Romans used mills to grind grain and raise water for irrigation. Steam engines changed the world. As we progress through history, the list grows, and so does the influence.
tyranny of entertainment
The expectation has always been that as technology grows and the mechanization of work develops, humans will have more free time and therefore more opportunities to spend free time. However, if we ask most people today if they have more free time, the answer would be no. Despite all the machines and technology, people feel busier than ever. what happened?
For one thing, there is the issue of growing demand. Even if technology and mechanization improve production, the increase in demand makes productivity gains appear ineffective. A growing world population with a growing appetite for resources constantly challenges what new technology can do. As the machines rush and blow away, people keep asking for more.
But there’s another side to this question, one that has to do with the way we work. Imagine a future when automation will reach a point where machines will cover most of the tasks that currently keep us busy. Driving cars, writing memos, programming computers, repairing machines, farming fields, diagnosing and operating patients – none of these jobs would require a human hand anymore.
How unbearable will all this acquired void be for our psyche? There is only so much fun watching TV, playing sports, or even just hanging out with friends and family. At some point we feel the need to get busy, and we know we need to act on it. Labor may not make us free, as claimed in awful quote At the entrance to a few Nazi concentration camps. However, work is an integral part of our identity. If we are unproductive for a long time, it is difficult to get rid of the feeling of worthlessness. Even when we have free time, or when we are already retiring, we find hobbies that keep us busy.
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We are not talking about low-paid labor here, which is unethical. This is clearly not the form of business I mean. I also won’t go into social and political issues related to work like universal income programs, because it’s another topic entirely.
Acting as a primary personal expression
We are regulators, builders, and repairers. The expectation that technology will give us more free time, and in doing so make us feel more free, misunderstands our nature. He confuses freedom with non-work. The premise seems wrong, because work brings a measure of pleasure to many people. The value of the work exceeds the salary. When routine work is not satisfying, we find hobbies, join volunteer groups, and participate in activities that keep us busy while providing a measure of pleasure.
Humans are working creatures, just like most animals. Life means being busy, whether it’s searching for food and building shelters, designing marketing campaigns or missile ships. Technology and automation will continue to free us from some of our tasks, but it will also create new ways to keep us occupied. Computers may improve many of our daily activities, but we still sit in front of them for most of the day. Avoiding our phones for more than an hour seems out of the question for most people. Being free is, in a sense, being able to choose how we devote our time. Whatever our individual choices (and social perks) may be, we make sure we keep getting busy one way or another. Technology and automation may change our choices, but not our needs. Work is a way to exercise our freedom.
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