Is society addicted to technology? Not really

Summary:The age-old question as to whether we as a society are addicted to technology is solved in 300 words. No, we're not, and this is why.

I was interviewed over the weekend for a documentary exploring whether or not the Generation Y are addicted to technology -- or influencing the rest of society's addiction. While at first I was pro-addiction, I started to realise half way through that I was wrong.

Think about it. Since the late 60's and early 70's, the so-called "Information Age". we have been exposed to more technology than society had ever seen before, even taking into account the internal combustion engine in the Industrial Revolution. The revolution of email to social networking alone has shaped how we communicate and act around each other.

This, spurred on by my generation. We've grown up with technology so we know little difference. We're still aware of Google Maps vs. an atlas, or AA driving directions vs. a street map, and Wikipedia vs. an encyclopedia, but we use the former as they are more convenient. It doesn't mean we would rage into a blind panic at the thought of using a book.

The best analogy to consider is the car. We get in our car in the morning, we drive to work, park up and work, only to drive back home and repeat on a daily basis. If the car breaks down, we call the mechanic to fix it or we look for similar but other routes such as the bus, the tube, the train or by walking.

The same is with technology. If our phone breaks, we repair it or find another - a friend's phone on loan or we use a landline, or some other form of communication. We only seem to notice these things when they're not with us.

Society may seem addicted to technology but it is simply how we have evolved. Even most of those who spend hours on end on computer games are not addicted to them. We use it more than ever but it is a socially constructed concern that we use it too much.

The only worry is if something like a nuclear blast causes an electromagnetic pulse which wipes out all silicon chips, but even then we'll have more things to worry about... such as being blown into our own shadow. Swings and roundabouts.

Do you think society is addicted to technology?

Topics: Telcos

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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