Technology Is Not Neutral

Technology is not neutral. The oft touted saying “technology is a tool, the value comes in how you use it” is misleading. Not to say that there isn’t any wisdom in that, but don’t forget that technologies are created with intrinsic purposes. They are pieced together by human hands which are guided by human minds; technologies are created with particular purposes.

Of course, the Lord allows us creativity, but we should not be naïve enough to believe that we cannot misuse that creativity. Because technologies are created with intent, they advance certain goods at the expense of others.

For example, the invention of the printing press made books widely available. Yet, the written word arguably lessens one's ability to memorize and thus led the culture away from oral tradition. With the invention of Kindle and similar devices, we are acknowledging that access to books is a good, while neglecting the significance of holding a book, turning the page, seeing variations in font, and putting the book on a shelf. Automobiles advance the idea that getting to places faster and more efficiently is better than walking or horse-riding. And while this may be true, what other goods does this faster, more "efficient" pace phase out?

Erika Gebel's post on "Technology and Worship" has generated a good discussion at BreakPoint's Facebook page. If you haven't already, check it out and join the discussion.


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