It is at times said–by people eager to have things to say–that modern society is too dependent on technology. Personally, I consider this to be a prime example of a nonsensical statement. For what is modern society, but its technological advancements? The progress of technology is the characteristic by which we define modern society from archaic civilizations. So, how on earth does it make sense to speak as if our priced modernity could have existed independent of our technological dependency?
A more pointed (and coherent) question would be to ask, has the technology we depend on to function in modern society surpassed our intellectual comprehension of it? The answer to that is undoubtedly, yes. In the past, technological machinery was simple (i.e. wheelbarrow, pulley crane, water wheel, etc.), and easily replicable by the common observer. Today, the technology we use on a daily basis is well beyond our comprehension. How exactly does the wi-fi on my laptop work in correlation to my internet service? Hell, if I know. I just know how to log on to my screen name, and let the machine do the work from there. I’ll be damned if I was ever asked to replicate the phenomenon from scratch, even if I was given an unlimited amount of resources to do it with. Same goes for my cell phone, and various other appliances I depend on to function in modern society. I understand there are individuals who actually do understand all of the basic components, and indeed can create the whole machinery from naught, but that doesn’t change the fact that the population at large cannot. Most of us simply push button on/off on appliance XYZ, and don’t give the rest of it much thought. Not necessarily because we’re too lazy to look up each individual component that goes into creating the machinery, but because the knowledge that goes into it is too far out of our intellectual depth for us to ever be able to truly grasp it.
Although technology is guaranteed to become even more complex as it progresses, human intelligence (as a collective) may very likely remain unchanged due to there being no real environmental pressure for us to understand the mechanism behind a piece of technology, beyond its practical utility to serve our needs. So, what are we to make of this? I can see both negative and positive points people might raise, but none of that really matters to me. All I know is that humanity is at a developmental point where to speak of social modernity, absent of technological dependency, is an impossibility. If human society continues to progress, so will technology, and both will do so entirely with complete dependence on the other.