Tech in 2017
October 27th, 2017
I remember that it was the year 2006 when I started religiously reading the tech blog Engadget. That soon led me to follow Wired and subsequently The Verge which was started by some writers who originally used to contribute to Engadget. Since that time I have found myself reading Wired and The Verge consistently and Engadget, Ars Technica, and Anand Tech to a smaller extent. 10 years very much feels like a century when I think of the growth of tech. It was a much more innocent time in 2006 when it was easy to get excited about the new gadgets which used to be featured on the pages of Wired and Engadget almost every day. Those gadgets were not yet tainted by the smell of human chaos and economic destruction which has engulfed society on the heels and fringes of the technological revolution. 10 years ago, technology had not yet sidled on to the the dark side, as Farhad Manjoo has also noted in his recent articles on the NYT.
I think that it was around 2011 when I started to become aware of the drawbacks of modern technology in a holistic sense. People from a previous generation, which I certainly am, always are apt to find shortcomings and flip sides in the technology of the day. But these flip sides generally always come with certain unquestionable benefits. When I say holistic, however, I mean that I no longer see much benefit to the technology of the present at all. There are drawbacks, disadvantages, and only its vile effects everywhere I see. Gadgets which used to be fresh, exciting, even optimistic in 2006 have become repetitive. But more than becoming repetitive, they have become a cynical vehicle for the naked and insatiable consumerism of the world, a trait which is always on display on tech sites like Verge. No smartphone is ever good enough and everybody is always waiting for the next set of improvements. Endless discussions on specs such as RAM, processor, and camera sound more like a fetish than an interest - the collective obsessions of an ill race of people who have lost all sense of proportion. These are the same people who have given up more and more of their autonomy and agency to the mysterious machinations of their gadgets and the invisible hands of the algorithms which reside in the cloud. Social networks, which were once a hopeful medium in which such movements as the Arab spring could germinate, have now become massive silos in which human beings can be efficiently isolated, contained, and their thoughts neatly managed towards the gain of nefarious elements. And what is it that people have really gained in this bargain? Constant streams of nonsense, trivial entertainment, and nonstop but ever diminishing jolts of dopamine as their little egos are stoked by nonentities in their "friend circle". Meanwhile technology has moved in to take more and more jobs around the world, leading to widespread discontent and poverty. The political upheavals that America and Europe are undergoing currently are a direct result of the march of technology which has essentially resulted in massive concentrations of wealth in the hands of a very few at the cost of the livelihoods of very very many.
There is literally no consequential benefit I see anymore in modern technology. All I see as its effect is an inevitable downhill slide for humanity with only more discontent, more violence, more upheaval, and more dehumanization in the future.