Casualties of the Device Age | Thomas M. Doran | CWR blog
Technology is not bad in itself but technological advances correspond to a decline in the ability to reason, contemplation, and self-discipline
I have an idea for a science fiction story featuring a race of brilliant creatures that invade Earth.
Wait a minute, you’re saying. This story has been told a thousand times, and better than you can tell it!
Not so fast, say I. This time, the invaders are militarily inept: no destructive weapons, electromagnetic rays, biological agents. These beings “benignly”, and clandestinely, help us to invent calculating machines; then computers; then PCs; then the host of communication, information, and entertainment devices we have today.
You probably suspect that the invaders plan to make these devices so intelligent and so powerful that they take control of mankind, or maybe the aliens intend to introduce brain-controlling waves into these devices to hypnotize the human race.
Nope. These creatures merely wait patiently for humans to become dependent on, and addicted to, these devices. When the vast majority of the human race is incapable of thinking and deciding for themselves, the invaders arrive and take control, to the delight of humans who can’t be bothered with anything, except the entertainment and stimulation these devices provide.
Maybe my aliens are similar to Isaac Asimov’s Second Foundation, or The Twilight Zone’s Monsters on Maple Street, or the world controllers of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but none of these anticipated the extent to which personal devices have transformed human perception and behavior.
Many of us are close to this disassociated, even somnambulistic, state today, and almost all of us—if we are honest with ourselves—fall into this rut occasionally.