Do we Depend on Technology Too Much?

Depend on Technology Too Much

From the moment our ancestors used sticks to poke at termite mounts or threw rocks at predators, our species has been fundamentally tied to the technologies that we use. As time went on, humanity became increasingly tied to the items we forge and create, and society itself was built and maintained with the tools in our arsenal. Now at our technological peek, have we grown to depend on technology too much for our own good? 

The use of tools and technologies is what distinguishes us from other creatures on earth. It is what allowed us to leave the caves and conquer the planet. It was the simple pointy stick called a spear that allowed us to take on beasts much larger and more vicious than us. It was the bronze and iron found on earth that we forged into tools that helped us tame the land and provide for our ever-expanding populations. Is that relationship an example of over-dependence on technology, or would it be more appropriately described as a symbiotic relationship, like that of a bee and a flower? 

Let Us Define Dependence on Technology 

There is a difference between the way our ancestors dealt with technology and the way we deal with it today. If an ancient lumberjack’s ax broke or was lost, he could use stones until he found enough in to forge another. If a huntsman’s spear were to break, all it takes is a stick, and some pitch, and natural glue, all found within his immediate vicinity, to make another and continue the hunt. If a farmer’s harvest failed, the forests and fields surrounding his land would accommodate him.  

The point here is that while ancient technology greatly amplified human capabilities, there was more versatility and, therefore, survivability. Modern-day humans wouldn’t outright die off overnight if the electric grid were to go dark, but most modern industries would most definitely grind to a halt. 

As Individuals, Do We Depend on Technology Too Much? 

We have defined what dependence on technology means in this context, but that does not make it any less broad of a concept. Technology has weaved its way into every aspect of our lives, ones that our grandparents could never have imagined, and this has irreversibly changed the way we deal in everyday life. Going one day without your smartphone is an event that you will tell all your friends about. Losing access to the internet basically means losing access to the rest of humanity, apart from your roommates, spouse, or parents. 


Studies have long shown that people have become increasingly anti-social with the increased use of social media. Many members of the younger generations place greater importance, or at least a greater emphasis, on their social media following than they do on their real-life friendships and connections, with many stating that they lack close and intimate relationships. This fact illustrates how deeply ingrained modern communication technologies are in our lives and relationships. 


I’m willing to bet that the last time you went to the library was when you had absolutely no choice and had to pick up a book for a university course or something of the sort. How many of us would know how to live without Google or YouTube if we did want to learn new skills to increase our self-sufficiency.  No doubt we depend on technology too much to source our information.

 A Macro Look at Human Dependence on Technology 

Technology is disruptive by nature. It changes the way we do things, and if we don’t change with it, the world will not wait around. Instead, we either get swept up by the tide or be left behind and drown; such is the way of progress. 

Companies that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their work will always work more efficiently than those that do things the traditional way. Organizing your data using physical papers and files instead of using an excel sheet is professional and business suicide. Such technologies are considered basic today, but we are heading in a direction that cracks up technological dependence to a new level. With the advent of industry 4.0 technologies and the sheer amount of efficiency that comes with it is impossible to resist and counterproductive to ignore. 

As time goes on, more industries lean more heavily on technology to do their most basic tasks. What happens when autonomous vehicles stop working, or the AI that underpins an entire organization’s productivity cycle malfunctions and starts making wrong decisions? 

What happens when the smart Internet of Things (IoT) systems that farm our fields shut off or when our map apps stop working? Will we forget how to live without the complex underpinning that props up our economies? Will the spread of industry 4.0 lead us to depend on technology too much? 

Certainly, if the world was to go dark one day, most people in both developed and developing nations would be in quite a pickle, especially those countries with a more urbanized population, which is most countries at this point. 

Eight billion people cannot simply go up and move to the nearest forest and start harvesting fruits, hunting animals, and planting crops overnight. There would be a period of absolute chaos, starvation, and violence before those who embrace self-sufficiency rise from the ashes and find stability. Those who have lived their entire lives in urban settings with no clue of how to live off the land would have the worst of it, and even those in rural areas would struggle. 

The global agricultural industry is as dependent on global logical versatility as those working in offices, as fertilizers necessary for farming the land are often not locally sourced. Rural dwellers would still have a much better chance, as the knowledge of animal husbandry, farming and self-sustainability is already there, but without the internet, how many of us can honestly learn fast enough to survive, and even then, we would be competing with everyone else over limited land and resources. 

Apocalyptic scenarios aside, if we take a look at history, it is those with the most versatile, adaptable, and fast-changing civilizations that survived the tests of time. The famous bronze age collapse did not happen for a single factor but a combination of factors that all culminated in the greatest civilizational collapse in history that we know of.   

We do have some commonalities today with those of ancient times, but that does not mean we are prone to collapse. We are faster, smarter (in terms of data), more versatile, and adaptable. We are also much bigger and richer, so a straightforward societal collapse remains a thing of fiction. 

However, the past is a cautionary tale. If we continue to depend on technology too much and build said technology on an increasingly delicate globalized system, we may struggle to maintain our prosperity at the point of contention. Still, we did pass through a global pandemic and came out alright, so there is that. 

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