Does Technology Improve or Control our Lives

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Does Technology Improve or Control our Lives

This essay will debate whether technology improves or controls our lives. It will discuss the positive aspects of technological advancements, such as increased connectivity and efficiency, as well as concerns about privacy, dependency, and the impact on social interactions. The piece will consider different perspectives on the role of technology in modern society and the balance between its benefits and potential drawbacks. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Communication.

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In the 1960s, an eccentric professor and philosopher predicted the rise of the Internet. Marshall McLuhan spent most of his life at the University of Toronto, where he focused on understanding culture and technology: what it is, how they interact with each other, and how they shape our past and present.

In his book Understanding Media: The External Extensions of Man, he predicted that we would soon move away from the visual culture dictated by print magazines and technologies like television to electronic media.

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This, he believed, would lead to the emergence of a “global village” – a new type of social organization in which individualism is replaced by tribalism.

The main reason why McLuhan was able to make such an impressive prediction is that he deeply understood technology and how people use it.

He did not see technology as simple tools. He saw in them the external extensions of a person, direct technical extensions of his body, sense organs, and abilities.

The essence of personal technology

Although McLuhan sometimes looked negatively at the impact of technology on people’s lives, he was mostly impartial; he generally believed that technology was inherently neutral. If you use them wisely and correctly, they are useful; if not, they control you.

When we hear the word “cyborg”, we immediately think of sci-fi films, where people merge with computers in the physical plane. However, according to McLuhan’s definition, we have been cyborgs ever since we learned how to make fires, create tools, and dress.

Each of these technologies, like a computer, in a sense, complements our senses and body and allows us to better navigate in different zones of time and space.

When you build a car and use it in your daily life, you replace some of the functionality of your legs – you no longer need to use them to travel long distances as you did before. In this sense, the machine becomes a part of your body or an extension of it.

This definition of technology turns everything that we thoughtlessly use in everyday life into something that either benefits us or harms us.

If you spend all day in front of the computer, distracted by various notifications, you are not doing anything good for yourself.

At the same time, the ability to send letters to loved ones using the same computer in a matter of seconds and communicate at a distance is a huge advantage. This is how you manipulate time and space, although previously you could not do this with only your body.

The same dynamic exists in our relationship to clothing, bed, home, and everything that gives our body a new function.

How to get the most benefit

One of the most inspiring cultural trends in recent years is minimalism: the idea that fewer possessions are better because many of our things are far from essential to life in the strict sense.

This concept is correct and wrong at the same time – depending on which side you look at it from.

Indeed, we technically do not need anything other than food, water, shelter, and leisure. Most of the things we possess are our free choices. If we look at it from McLuhan’s point of view, these things act more like a computer that interferes with life than a computer that allows you to communicate with loved ones at a distance. On the other hand, if you have the right intentions and value the benefits, then these things can make our life much easier.

This way of thinking requires a complete reassessment of the relationship to technology. It is important to understand whether a certain thing that actively interacts with your body gives you more control over the environment, or, on the contrary, controls you.

A car, for example, can easily take you to any place that would be more difficult for you to walk. In most cases, she does not control your life. Social media, on the other hand, is addictive and manipulative.


Given the state of technology today, the medium you use to consume your content shapes your understanding more than the content itself. There is a difference between reading a paper newspaper and a website. The first is a very individual action, the second is tribal.

Today, technology is driving us rather than the other way around. This is partly because of the way we have created technology over the past few decades, and partly because we are simply not literate enough to manage our attitudes.

Any technology – from clothing to a computer – either merges with the body and benefits or harms it.

If you can appreciate the attitudes towards different technologies in your life and their different goals, you will maximize the benefits that they will bring.

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Does Technology Improve Or Control Our Lives. (2021, Apr 29). Retrieved from