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Ethics and technology expert L.M. Sacasas reflects on the moral costs that society pays for the use of technology in pursuit of an easier life. The author shows that some advantages of convenience don’t take the shape you’d expect or don’t benefit the person using the technology. Despite Sacasas’s concern about what might happen to personal freedoms as tech companies grow more influential, he doesn’t suggest rejecting convenience altogether. Alas, in this more theoretical than practical essay, the author doesn’t recommend an alternative solution other than awareness. 

About the Author

L.M. Sacasas is the director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology.

 

Summary

Product and technology developers view technology as a means to overcome human limits.

Tech companies are glossing over concerns about new technology, reassuring consumers that the ultimate aim is to make life simpler. This is an easy sell as it caters to people’s desire for comfort and ease. However, when the pursuit of convenience per se comes at the expense of ideals like privacy or justice, it means that unlimited access, availability and sharing of information can have unexpected drawbacks.

According to sociologist Thomas F. Tierney, modern life has imposed the value of convenience on society. Technology becomes a means to conquer – rather than accept – human limits and physical demands. This matches...


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