I am wondering if technology makes us better humans. Technology undoubtably has its advantages, but technology also brings with it automation, uniformity and anonymity. Because there are more technical entities than humans, we begin to adapt to the majority and to loose our qualities.

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    Given your question brings up issues with uniformity, are you comfortable lumping all of technology into one big clump like this? The technology in a hospital that saves lives clearly deserves a different treatment than the technology in a nuclear weapon.
    – Cort Ammon
    Mar 4, 2016 at 8:14
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    The question title is never really echoed clearly in the body. Can you make clearer the answerable question you have about philosophy?
    – virmaior
    Mar 4, 2016 at 8:17
  • There's more ants than humans, we aren't losing our qualities to them. When done right, Tech lets us be happier, longer-lived humans, which is a pretty good analog for 'better'. Tech is just understanding and control of reality. Mar 4, 2016 at 21:07

5 Answers 5


The idea that you mention is similar to Marx's concept of alienation: When a person performs labor in a capitalist industrialized society, they slowly loose their connection with their work and their community. The become alienated.

The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour.

Marx develops the idea mainly from an economic point of view. He sees it as result of capitalism. However, modern capitalism is a direct consequence of the industrial revolution, and wouldn't be possible without modern technology. So in a sense, your idea that "we loose our qualities" - we become alienated - because of technology is supported by Marxists theory.


Technology has neither the aim nor the impact to make people acting more morally.

Technology is a means to apply our scientific knowledge to control the natural forces. There are technicians who develop technology, people who apply their results, and people who benefit or suffer from these applications.

In any case technology is a means in the hand of those who apply it. And the kind of application depends on the moral attitude of the latter.

Due to the gigantic forces which can be released in technical application, sometimes technology acts as an magnifying glass showing the moral attitude of those who work on these applications. In addition it may trigger a public discussion about these applications.


Technology, particularly social media have the ability to bring us as together as a human race. Technology also allows us to spend more time on things we really want to do, as the mundane is automated. Medical technology can help save lives and space technology and allows us to explore the universe more fully. Computers allow us to store and share knowledge and understanding.


Oh, this depends on what you define as 'better. And that is a short term as well as a long term result. Is higher quality, quantity or variety important to you? Or is it aspects of personality like more moral, experienced or analytical? And is it internal or external. Then there is reward, when you get more of that is that 'better'? Just because there is more external collateral effect, that doesn't speak necessarily speak of a change to the human itself. Best I would say, technology enhancement benefits in difference to all other behavior only within the scope of the technology. As far as the human is concerned it's the behavior of the person that generates an effect not the technology itself. So yes, externally the human is different, he can now go to the moon, but did that fact change the human itself? When he looked back at the earth having an epiphany , he was changed, but could something else have provided an equal effect? I think you can document that having cheap radios has had the effect people do not commonly need to know how to make their own. Net gain? -1 externally. Are these better or worse people? 0 change internally. Was that a permanent change to humanity?


'The Question concerning Technology' whilst the title of a famous essay by Heidegger, is also a question already raised in Platos Phaedrus when he writes on Theuth, the ancient Egyption god of Naucratis' who

invented numbers and arithmetic, geometry and astronomy, also draughts and dice, and most importantly letters

By letters he means writing; as in the term, 'a man of letters'; Socrates raises the question

We still have to speak of the propriety and impropriety of writing; how it should be done and how it is improper

It is not an unmixed good - as most goods are; as Theuth, the god of technology noted; for he

enumerated their uses [of his inventions] and expressed praise or blame, according as he approved or disapproved.

But for writing, his enthusiasm overcame and over leapt his usual caution; when describing it to his king, 'the god Thamus, who lived in the great city of the upper region called by the Greeks, Thebes' and who they themselves called Amun 'Lord of the silent'

This invention, O King, will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.

Thamus, whilst praising the inventiveness of the most 'ingenious Theuth' reminds him to be cautious for

one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness and harmfulness belongs to another.

Amun, being the king of his people, had to look towards the whole, whereas Theuth 'being the father of letters', can only be partial and as Amun says to him directly

had been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite to what they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practise their memories. Their trust in writing produced by external characters in no way part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within within them.

He adds:

You have not invented an elixir of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, and not true wisdom; for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant, and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, only appear wise.

Appearence - as in Heideggers seeming; this, then is the beginning of the critique of technology and not criticism which is pejorative and only damns; technology which Arendt commented was the only real revolution in our times.

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