Happy Easter All. I've finally managed to get around to writing the second part to my technology piece...
While technology enhances or enlarges our freedom(s), it can also diminish our autonomy.
1) As several posters have mentioned--see comments under "(Part 1 of) Its Kind of Odd How Technology Both Enslaves..."--we seem to be wedded to some of our gadgets. How many times have our friends, family, co-workers, or even ourselves said that we can't live without our television, smartphone, computer, tablet, etc. Heck, even if we haven't said, it is still probably true for many of us. However, just because we can't "live without" a piece of technology does not necessarily imply that our autonomy has been limited. A company may "not be able to function" without a certain employee, but we don't necessarily think that the company is a slave to the worker.
The added worry for many of us (who want to be as autonomous as possible) is not just that we can't live without technology; it is that we adjust our lives to fit our technology instead of vice verse. Instead of using a piece of technology as a tool, which is wholly devoted to serving us, we instead change our habits, views, etc. to fit that technology. As an example, we change our methods of emailing, writing, etc. to conform to whatever new technologies (ie. a new version of Word) that come along. If a new IT system demands that we learn a new series of processes, we do it.
In other words, instead of forcing technology to fit within our proscribed routines; we change our routines to fit the technology.
2) We have lost control over our basic information. I'm sure that my name, address, dob, favorite foods, etc. are floating out on the Web somewhere. More importantly, I didn't put (some of) them on the Web, nor did I request that it be done. Nevertheless, it is out there somewhere on the Web for everyone to see. More importantly, I am not alone; most of us are probably in the same boat. Whether we care about it or not (I personally am not overly worried about it), we have lost control of our information. We do not necessarily determine what people see and when they see it. The growth of the Internet and social media have set us free in many ways; however, it does come with a cost--some loss of privacy and personal control of information.
3) We have always had to worry about "big brother" to some extent. Even before the invention of cameras, I'm sure that people had to "watch their backs" to make sure that no one was spying on them. With the invention of cameras, video cameras, recording devices, etc., it became easier for governments/people/companies, etc. to keep an eye on people (either in public or in private). The advent of things like Google Maps has made that task much easier. Granted, this might not be a bad thing in some cases; I'm sure that city managers the world over love having the ability to look down on homes from on high to see if they can spot any city-code violations. Nonetheless, the more advanced this type of technology becomes, the greater its potential for invading our privacy and otherwise denying us the freedom to dictate who sees/hears our private moments.
Clip Art Courtesy of Microsoft Office.