Here are two ways to view technology:
1. Technology is for human independence
2. Technology is for human freedom
The first attitude is frustrated with the need to depend on God or other human beings for anything and therefore strives to develop technologies that “liberate” an individual to be able to do everything they want without needing anyone else. It is about power, control and independence.
The second attitude is saddened by the curse of toil imposed upon God’s image bearers and views technology as a way to “liberate” all people from the mundane, dehumanizing, monotonous labor that does not reflect the creative glory of God to instead be able to serve and benefit others and engage in the disciplined creative activities that reflect God’s glory.
In either case, technology springs from a moral impulse: “I should be free to accomplish my will without regard to anyone else” or “People should be freed from toil to do their best, meaningful work”
In my life I have experienced both attitudes. Sometimes I’m so annoyed that no one else wants to do what I want and I’m reluctant to ask for help because I do not want to owe anyone any favors. Therefore I look to technology as a way to accomplish what I desire without having to depend on anyone else and without having to consider other peoples wants and needs. Other times I am motivated by great needs that I know technology can alleviate and I eagerly go about developing products that can help people.
As I pondered these perspectives, my initial reaction was disdain for all the times I’ve been forced to do repetitive, mindless tasks. Sometimes it feels like the first perspective on technology prevails and those with the most influence and wealth get to take advantage of it. Yet I soon realized that much of the work I do helps unburden others who must do even more repetitive, mindless tasks–and suddenly my work was infused with a ray of dignity.
It remains a constant struggle to stay motivated by love, but realizing the distinction is at least the first step.
Which view motivates your use and development of technology?