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Critique Essay (Technopoly)

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By dcadillon
Words 880
Pages 4
David Cadillon
WRTG 391 Advanced Research Writing
Critique Essay
20 October 2013

Now a day’s technology is such a common part of our lives no one really stops to question what it’s taking away from society, if anything. But in 1992 Neil Postman, an author of over 200 magazines and newspaper articles, wrote the book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology to explain the many ways technology was taking over. In his book Technopoly, Postman makes an effort to paint a picture of “when, how, and why technology became a particularly dangerous enemy” (Postman xii). In his introduction, he gives a brief history lesson of Thamus and god Theuth who was the inventor of many things (Postman p. 3) to allow the reader to think carefully of how technology has affected society. He continues to share many anecdotal examples of how technology has taken over common human interaction, but gives no solid credible facts of how technology has become the enemy. With as many metaphorical examples that he uses, he doesn’t convince me, and I don’t agree society “seeks its authorization from technology…” (Postman 71). Postman makes it seem as if technology is the end all be all of our society, when in fact, it’s not. According to Postman, society allows technology power to influence or command their thoughts, opinions, or behaviors, basically, technology runs our lives and everything in it, but I don’t think we “seek authorization” from technology as much as we exploit and rely heavily on it for our own personal benefit. We rely heavily on technology to interact with others, conduct business and to keep ourselves organized. For example, when you go to a bank, you may wait for the “system” to give the approval of a loan, but ultimately a human inputs those parameters to analyze individual situations and approve or disapprove the loan. When you look at the bigger picture, you realize that humans are still the ones controlling the technology and doing the driving. In the very beginning of chapter five Postman claims that “Technopoly is a state of culture and also a state a mind, which means it consist of deification of technology” (Postman 71). Basically, he says people worship technology. To say people worship technology is an overstatement. To worship means to make a god of, take as an object of worship, or glorify as of supreme worth. Once again, he makes a bold statement without factual evidence to show how humans actually worship technology. Postman goes on to say society “takes its orders from technology” (Postman 71). While he makes those allegations, he still doesn’t give concrete evidence or any factual statements as to how society takes orders or looks for approval from technology. He makes the statement and moves on to speak about information and how the defense against information breakdown allows a Technopoly to grow. Going back to his statement of “taking orders”, taking orders from something or someone means to receive and be expected to follow directions or commands from them. Looking at society now, I’ve yet to see anyone “take orders” from any type of technological equipment. Like I said earlier, human beings exploit it for many personal uses, but they don’t take orders. Postman truly shows himself as someone who “belongs to the dismal genre of modern flat-earthen who are resurrecting the age-old complaint that science and technology have robbed “us” of the old certainties of religious belief and given “us” no compensating belief system- no “ordered world-view, resting on a set of metaphysical or theological assumptions”” with which to control a bewildering and fast-changing world” (Weir). Although that is just another reader’s opinion, there is really no other way to describe Postman as he continues to make assumptions throughout his one-sided book. Mr. Postman then states, “Those who are most comfortable in Technopoly are those who are convinced that technical progress is humanity’s supreme achievement…” (p.71) clearly pointing out it’s only some who are comfortable in a Technopoly, not all. With this and his first statement, he contradicts himself and lets us know it’s not all of society but a few that view technology with such high regard. There are many people out there in society that refuse to have cell phones or use a computers simply because it’s not something they believe is necessary for them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any articles to support my case, and at the current moment, I sound like Neil Postman but on the other side of the fence. Although technology has overrun our homes, schools and workplace, it hasn’t taken over completely to where we seek it’s approval, worship it, or can’t live without it. Too many times there are people that actually want to get away from their technological devices because they’re so connected to everything. Postman continues to use a lot of metaphors in regard to technology and the overflow of information, but doesn’t use any factual evidence as to how we ask for “approval” from technology. He rambles on from one assumption to another, showing only what technology undoes.

Works Cited

Postman, Neil. (1992). Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York:Vintage Books.

Weir, S. (1992). Apocalypse, Wow. Nation, 255(6), 216.

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