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  • Writer's pictureMeirav Peleg Landau

Are We Using Technology or Is It Using Us?

In pondering the question, "Are We Using Technology or Is It Using Us?" our initial, intuitive response might be a resounding affirmation that we are unequivocally in control of the technology at our fingertips. It seems self-evident: we decide when to pick up our smartphones, we program our alarm clocks, and we guide the steering wheel of our cars. But let's embark on a deeper exploration to scrutinize whether this assumption holds true in the multifaceted relationship between humanity and technology.

Are we truly the masters, calling the shots, or is there a subtler dance at play, where the influence of technology shapes our choices and lifestyles in more profound ways than we might readily acknowledge? Let's investigate this complex relationship to uncover how technology influences our lives

Are We Using Technology or Is It Using Us?

The Watch

This humble device, evoking back centuries, has asserted its dominion over our lives, introducing a new era of precision, time management, and unwavering compliance to schedules. Its roots can be traced to the 11th-century Benedictine monastery, where bells rang every seven hours, governing the rhythm of daily life. The watch became humanity's tool for synchronization, ensuring that individuals could meet down to the precise minute. It introduced order into a world that had meandered far from the natural subside and flow (roosters no longer dictate our daily routines). The mechanical watch operates with the precision of a well-oiled machine and has evolved into a symbol of the mechanical and industrial age, representative of the capitalist system. We created timepieces to aid in our spiritual devotion, yet today, they demand precise timekeeping for every task. In some corners of the world where precision carries little weight, life unfolds without the watch's commanding presence. Our modern existence would be unrecognizable without it, shaping our travel, communication, and interaction with the world at large.

The Car

Here, we encounter a technology that extends its influence far beyond mere adaptation. Humans have not simply adjusted to the automobile; they have profoundly remodeled their environment to serve its needs. In 1900, a modest 4,192 automobiles rolled off the assembly line. Fast forward to 2022, and a staggering 1.45 billion vehicles traverse our roads. In 1900, the United States boasted approximately 230 kilometers of paved roads. Today, the nation boasts an estimated 6.5 million kilometers of paved roads, crisscrossing the land. The face of the Earth has been transformed, scarred with ribbons of asphalt as entire cities and infrastructures have been constructed to cater to the needs of the automobile, not the other way around. People have become architects, designing environments that revolve around the automobile. When building homes, we meticulously ensure the presence of parking spaces; when building shopping centers, our primary concern is the proximity of parking lots. Entire new cities spring into existence, interconnected by highways and serviced by fuel stations at regular intervals. We've even created technologies to safeguard those settled within the car's protective shell. In a paradoxical twist, individuals often spend hours scouring the streets in search of parking, leading to issues like air pollution and traffic accidents. The car, in this context, doesn't merely serve us—it dictates our choices and molds our urban landscapes.

The Television

In the domain of media, television stands as a technology that profoundly influences the American psyche. It possesses a unique ability to transform virtually everything it touches into entertainment, including the most serious of subjects such as news. Television exhibits a distinct penchant for visual and sensational content, aligning with its primary role as a visual medium. It shows a preference for attractive personalities who can simplify complex messages into short, dramatic narratives. In the process, television has fundamentally altered the way Americans perceive the world, seeping into every aspect of daily life. It infiltrates our lives during subway rides, creeps into hospital waiting rooms, and even reaches the confines of places of worship where preachers once delivered their sermons. The prevalence of television has shifted the way society receives and processes information, impacting our values, beliefs, and cultural norms.

The Smartphone

ExpIn the palm of our hands, we hold a technology that exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between humans and devices. Smartphones, though created to serve as communication tools, have evolved into pocket-sized personal assistants. They have become extensions of our identities, repositories of our memories, and gateways to an interconnected world. In this case, technology serves us by providing convenience, connectivity, and access to information. However, it can also be argued that we have become increasingly dependent on these devices, with many of our daily activities and social interactions revolving around our screens.

These examples make it evident that technology often exercises a profound influence, extending beyond mere convenience or efficiency. It shapes our choices and alters our environments, prompting us to question where the balance of power truly lies in our relationship with technology. In this dance of dominance, are we the choreographers, or are we simply following technology's lead? The answer is multifaceted and continues to evolve as technology advances and integrates further into our lives.


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