A recent “formal” debate in Australia, We are Becoming Enslaved by our Technology addresses this question (90 min). A look at the up side and down side of technological advances with three experts addressing both sides of the question.
One key point made by some of the speakers is the lopsided impact that technology may have towards government abuse. One example is captured in the quote “a cell phone is a surveillance device that also provides communications” (quoted by Bernard Keene) In this case one who benefits from continuous location, connectivity, app and search presence.
Much of the discussion focuses on the term “enslave” … as opposed to “control”. And also on the question of choice … to what degree do we have “choice”, or perhaps are trying to absolve our responsibility by putting the blame on technology.
Perhaps the key issue is the catchall “technology”. There are examples of technology, vaccines for example, where the objectives and ‘obvious’ uses are beneficial (one can envision abuse by corporations/countries creating vaccines.) And then the variations in weapons, eavesdropping, big-data-analysis vs privacy, etc. Much of technology is double-edged – with impacts both “pro and con” (and of course individuals have different views of what a good impact.)
A few things are not debatable (IMHO):
1. the technology is advancing rapidly on all fronts
2. the driving interests tend to be corporate profit, government agendas and in some cases inventor curiosity and perhaps at times altruistic benefits for humanity.
3. there exists no coherent way to anticipate the unintended consequences much less predict the abuses or discuss them in advance.
So, are we enslaved? …. YOU WILL RESPOND TO THIS QUESTION! (Oh, excuse me…)