Technology runs amok today. Most people seem to accept that the “latest” technology, whatever it is, should be embraced and celebrated. Each new apple product or so-called “Smart phone”or appliance is trotted out with a public relations blitzkrieg that seamlessly blends “news” with advertising. Many of us and our friends and relatives become salespeople ourselves, promoting the latest gadgets to one another.
Machines Ascend as Humanity Descends
Mahatma Gandhi was still alive as the industrial revolution began to alter the values of the world. Technology began to make human beings less important in the means of production, as in Henry Ford’s assembly lines. Machines were made to seem increasingly indispensable, human beings less and less so.
Machines replace and delimit Humanity
Human survival becomes more and more dependent upon our ability to run machines, while increasingly the machines run us. More and more jobs are replaced by machines. People become secondary. Human labor is needed primarily to keep the machines going, while liquid capital from labor is used to pay for “new and improved” or “upgraded” machines: smart phones (not so smart for us), televisions, automobiles, dishwashers and other so-called “Smart” appliances and “Smart” meters, which are not smart at all. Meanwhile, credit cards replace cash so that everything is cleverly calibrated to track our every move, purchase, emotion, to corral us for advertisers who want to understand and manipulate us in order to sell us more machines.
Hate Not The Machines
Mahatma Gandhi said, “I hate not the machines, but this growing passion for machines. I hate the passion for the machines which work upon diminishing man power. (I) want the wealth to be accumulated not just in a few hands but for all the people in the world.”
The Worship of Technology
Gandhi was not against technology. He was against worshiping technology as a means of salvation. He thought salvation could not come from outside; it could only be attained internally. Gandhi thought that technology encouraged the soul to be led astray by greed.
The dishwasher, the leaf blower, the so-called “Smart” TV, cell phone or computer – we quickly buy whatever new technology is thrown at us. Most hold a decided prejudice that whatever is newer must necessarily be better. Old bad, new good, seems to be the prevailing “wisdom” with all new technologies. Those who aren’t using the latest whatever are seen as fools or losers. Why wouldn’t one want to “take advantage” of the latest gadget?
Medical Device Technology runs Amok
In the world of medicine, there may be no better example of technology run amok than with IVC blood clot filters. Thousands of IVC filter lawsuits have been filed because any risk-benefit analysis shows they are clearly not worth their risks. Anyone taking a few minutes to handle and examine one of the flimsy IVC filter devices could readily see that the notion of jamming one into a human being’s vena cava is a terrible idea.
Studies show IVC filters fail to improve anticoagulant therapy, while studies also show they are not being retrieved in timely fashion. The longer they remain in the body, the more difficult they are to remove. In addition, the longer they remain implanted, the more likely they are to cause problems, including life-threatening complications.
Morcellator Lawsuits are being filed because power morcellators were sold as less invasive for hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal than prior methods of surgery for women; however, power morcellators can spread undetected cancer that can kill the woman who has been unwittingly talked into having one used on her.
Plastic mesh was sold to gynecologists primarily as a money-making scheme. Johnson & Johnson, Bard, AMS, and other mesh makers used very well-funded advertising blitzes to convince doctors that this product was a good idea. It was easier to put plastic mesh into a woman to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence than it was to find a surgeon with the surgical chops to do the job the way it had been successfully done for more than 100 years.
Metal on metal hip implants were, at one time, the latest, greatest thing. The problem was and is that they grind against each other and eventually cause tiny shards of metal to enter the bloodstream. Cobalt and other metal poisoning results, in addition to enormous pain as the metal on metal hip replacements fail.
Technology runs Amok
Here’s a short list of technological “advances” trotted out as advances that are questionable at best, and nothing of the sort if one looks closely at them, and what their real cost is to human beings.
Each of these fails a risk-benefit test. Each was meant to replace something that already worked just fine. Each of these cost more than the thing it was meant to replace. Each causes at least as many problems as it solves. Each nullifies or belittles the human element, the man power of which Gandhi spoke. Each takes more from us than it gives. Would that we could turn them all off, or stop using them, and take back some of the humanity that we’ve allowed their makers to steal from us.