Alienation is the feeling of being isolated from the world around you. This is where something familiar and connected to a person becomes disconnected or strange to them. According to Karl Marx, capitalism is a form of alienation in the society. He claims that our species being is our essence as humans and it should, therefore, be familiar, however, to the point that we cannot work by our species being, we are getting the disconnection from the nature of our own. Therefore, if what we do in the capitalist society hinder the realization of our species-being, then that work alienates us. In the present society, there have been cases of alienation where people's activities and achievements do not seem to be the doings of their own. They feel like they are not part of the success because no one recognizes their efforts that have led to the enjoyed achievements in the society. This coverage discusses how technology has resulted in the alienation of individuals from their work.
Technology is a broad field, and different people have a different understanding, meaning, and perception about it. Form a sociological view; technology is a subsystem of the society that helps in the observation of the domain of techniques, tools and their applications to people's lives. Rafael describes technology as a social system that operates through the communicative event and from its perspective of etymology lies in the study of practical arts scientifically (330).
The concept of alienation, according to Marx, relates mostly to production, however, in the current society, this has gone beyond just production and now affects the consumption too, especially the consumption of technology. The advancements in technology have now limited the workplace interaction and increased the way workers are controlled by their employers. Technology has alienated people from their actual duties, potential as well as fellow human beings. We do not even talk to one another when we go shopping because everything is automated and you have to do your thing and leave. The self-check-out stations have made us forget about interaction with fellow human beings.
Unlike the past decades when we could visit the banks to make some deposits or withdrawals, we no longer interact with tellers in the banks, the ATMs are there to serve us any time we need to. Many people prefer the use of the ATM to the banks as they feel the banks waste a lot of their time, interacting with the teller instead of just interacting with their money directly through the machines.
By moving from the automated machines, the internet is another type of technology that has impacted the society. Its application is getting more serious day by day. The creation of the internet has helped greatly in making individuals' lives easier as one can easily access information or interact with one another. However, the same internet has also resulted in the separation of families, depressions and even suicide. The interaction that the internet has enabled people to have such as the use of the social media, emails, text messages, face to face interaction is now becoming outdated. The value of human communication is diminishing day by day. I do have friends and relatives who I rarely see, but I feel comfortable about it because I can interact with them through WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. This is a clear alienation that has hit the present society where we feel no need to interact with the people around us physically.
Technology is gradually replacing the traditional classroom where students attend classes together, interacts and share ideas through discussions and group work. All that one needs right now is a computer and internet connectivity to register, and complete a course online. These online courses create in both learners and teachers a feeling of isolation, alienation as well as frustration (Dickey 280). There is no clear feedback or even proper communication between the two parties.
I have a friend who is a big fan of the television series and would spend the whole day watching. Though the television is not a big limiter to the people's social interaction, it has been a real problem in the recent past, and its effects on people's interaction are still felt. My friend would rather watch her favorite television series than go out to spend time with friends. Averagely, 7th-12th graders spend around seven hours daily watching the television, about two hours interacting with parents and an hour on their homework (Rideout, Foehr, and Roberts 36).
We are currently facing difficult political times. This is not limited to the United States alone but the entire world. Technology has driven the political alienation and control over ideologies among many nations. This has resulted in alienation from human potential and productivity, further leading to inequality and subordination. In a capitalist society, people are easily controlled by the use of technology leading to totalitarianism. The citizens of a country are isolated and go through misery dues to the application of technology by political leaders to further their political and ideological interests.
We can, therefore, realize that technology has made both positive and negative impacts on our lives. Many only realize the positive side of it, not realizing how it is driving us to be more disconnected from the people around us. The kind of alienation that is being experienced in the current time is beyond Karl Marx's imagination of how alienation was a real issue in the society. As the technology advance, we are finding ways of making things work with less or no human efforts, and soon everyone may be doing their things in their "own worlds" without even thinking they have families or friends to attend to. Our interactions with nature and the people around us have been squashed by technology.
Dickey, Michele. "The impact of web-logs (blogs) on student perceptions of isolation and alienation in a web-based distance-learning environment." Open learning 19.3 (2004): 279-291.
Marx, Karl, and Fredrick Engels. The Marx-Engels Reader (ed. Robert C. Tucker). Second Edition. New York, 1978.
Rafael, Erwin F. "Technology as a social system: A systems theoretical conceptualization." Philippine Sociological Review (2013): 319-347.
Rideout, Victoria J., Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F. Roberts. "Generation M 2: Media in the Lives of 8-to 18-Year-Olds." Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2010): 1-77.
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