How Tech Becomes Mandatory

About | Blog | Projects | Videos

(Sam Alws, 3/23/22)

Tech has a sneaky way of working itself into our lives. When a new technology is made, critics are often told "if you don't like it, you don't have to use it", but often this doesn't end up being the case. For example, imagine how difficult your life would be if you tried to "just not use" your computer or your car. For many technologies, there are many barriers "blocking you in" to using them that weren't there before the technology was around. In this post I'll be showing how tech ends up becoming mandatory, and giving examples to show just how widespread mandatory technology is.

A note before I start: I don't think all these technologies are bad, and I definitely don't think we should give up on tech altogether. Mandatory technology is just part of life as a human; there's no way around it (picture a hunter gatherer choosing not to use spears). I do think we should be more strict in limiting technologies that are causing harm, and it's important to keep in mind that if we let harmful technologies grow unchecked, they often become impossible to avoid.

With all that being said, let's jump right in.

1. Tech solves problem, problem becomes worse to compensate

Often, tech promises a solution to a problem, but we just end up with a bigger problem (which is now unsolvable without the new technology). Examples of this include:

2. Businesses require you to use tech

Once tech gains a wide enough adoption, businesses typically assume that you have it and are willing to use it. It becomes unprofitable to keep support for old tech, so eventually they just drop support. Examples include:

3. The government legally requires you to use tech

Once a technology gains enough adoption, the government starts to assume everyone is willing to use it. Examples of this include:

4. Other, less strict, ways

Other ways of making tech mandatory are less strict, but are still very prevalent and can make it very hard to choose not to use a technology:

What we can expect in the future

As time goes on and tech gets more advanced, we should expect to see more of this new technology becoming mandatory. Here are some of my predictions:

Conclusion ft. Unaboomer

For those interested in the topic, I'd recommend reading Ted Kaczynski* - he's where I got this idea from in the first place. He goes a bit extreme, but a lot of his criticisms of the modern technological system are pretty sound.

* No, I don't endorse mailing bombs to people. Don't go mailing people bombs and saying Sam told you to do it.