Essay Example on Glass Cage and The Rule of St. Benedict

Published: 2021-08-11
1892 words
7 pages
16 min to read
Vanderbilt University
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Technology has influenced a significant part of our day to day activities and has transformed the manner in which operations are being carried out. Over the very few years, almost all aspects of life have been influenced by the advancement of technology and transformed the way information is transmitted. This piece seeks to describe the advancement of technology in the area of human-automation and how it has contributed to turning users into slaves. The idea behind this work is to show that despite our ability to automate we should not be eager to rush to it. Analysis of the technology to use in different areas should be the first consideration before the process is undertaken such that human interest is upheld in developing the system.


Social media plays a significant role in the modern life. It has created an avenue for interaction both in business and personal activities. This communication allows a faster transfer of information and hence has become appealing to many people. Many users of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks have been affected by the technology and admit that they cannot live without them. This has resulted in addiction overtime and has detrimental consequences.

The Glass Cage book by Nicholas Carr seeks to determine lifestyle and other changes that have come due to the effects of technological advancement (Carr, 2015). According to the author, excessive dependency on computers has had more detrimental results than any other technology and is influencing the way activities are conducted. Carr seeks to explore hidden costs and challenges in the use of technology to our lives. Work and leisure have been affected by technology such that dissatisfaction characterizes personal happiness and fulfillment. Intelligence technology is described to cause more harm than good to the users. In responding to the Google's automated car, Nicholas described it as a "clueless bureaucracy standing athwart the path of progress" (Carr, 2015). Google search is making everyone lazy and appears smart which is not the case.

In this manner, the provision of information causes a discouragement in conducting more profound studies. The black boxes full of microchips are changing the work sphere and eroding skills, killing intelligence and causes a work devaluation incase were human responsibility is sacrificed (Carr, 2015). Jobs are made obsolete by the technology, and most less-skilled occupations have suffered a great deal. It was that way at the beginning with less skilled operations, but currently, the machines are tailored to perform the best paying jobs in the best environment and thus limit the number of employees who would otherwise enjoy these occupations. The loss of employment to many people and lack of progress in the occupation category is attributed to the aspect of automation. This is the fact that workers have become redundant from doing the same things over and over. The smartest tools that are used in the workplaces are making the most intelligent people unproductive instead of making them more efficient. In dealing with technology, individuals have become good at following its instructions an aspect that has made us machine dependent which develops into a form of slavery. With the over-dependence in machines, individuals have become too used to their operations such that without them everything seems helpless. In operations, machines should be supplementing individual's effort to result in more efficient processes rather than taking over all activities.

Automation has occurred in planes and many other industries, and has revolutionized the way operations are carried out. In this manner, the earlier labor-intensive jobs have been simplified but this has created problems. Many people working in the various automated services do not understand the processes that take place overly and hence causing problems. In two cases of computerized plane crashes, the blame was on the pilots, and one can argue that it was the problem of automation. In these cases, a technological malfunction can cause more problems, and its reliance becomes a deadly toll. According to Carr (2015), automation is a good technology progress; the main problem is that it has been taken to a level of automating activities that are affecting the human abilities and disturb the principles of life. In the best cases, automation can be made in such a way that it is more interactive and thus strengthens the relationship between the user and the technology in use. According to Carr (2015), computer controlled systems are not complicated. The problem is that they lack the aspect of interaction with the user and hence limit learning by carrying out all vital activities. Currently, we are to tolerate a world of smarter machines which are operated by less capable individuals. The aspect of automation has influenced the best social, practical skills in such a way that without the machine life becomes a challenge.

The internet age has resulted in human connection and has changed our lives based on our information consumption. The internet has improved access to information. A lot of time is spent on social media platforms in activities which do not necessarily add value to the individuals. This has resulted to isolation, alienation, and withdrawal of such individuals from the society. There are various aspects that have come with internet and changed the way of life regarding dating sharing information, socializing, parenting, and reading. This element has led to different approaches to life. As children are accessing the internet more, it has become a requirement for the parents to teach etiquette and protection over online bullies rather than street dangers.

Additionally, automation and the internet have led to corruption of human qualities. An example is the tragic crash of Air France 447 (AF447) in 2009 (Traufetter, 2009). The accident was attributed to the lack of practical skills with the pilot after years of depending on the automated system. This provides a dimension that needs to be considered in incorporating automatic machines. The accident is a clear indication that machines have taken over human qualities. It is thus evident that internet, automation and other recent technologies can have detrimental effects if the essential requirements and operations are machine controlled. As much as Carr's proposition seems to oppose automation, it is in its entirety, not an anti-automation but serves to provide insight on the issues that need to be considered in a bid to automate systems. In this perspective, the drawbacks of automation are detrimental to the very human qualities.

Can We Break from Automation? The Rule of St. Benedict

At the modern times, breaking automation seems more difficult than ever. Despite the constant challenges we are exposing ourselves to; the machines have become part of our lives. Every aspect seems to be controlled by technology and automation. Addiction has resulted from machine interactions to a level that can be described as global madness. Technological devices such as computers, smart phones, and the internet currently control every aspect of life. Applications are available and designed to make our work easier and over time we have become addicted to them. Nothing else seems more appealing to youngsters like the social media where information is flowing intensively. The easy access to information at our comfort makes us lack physical interaction skills (Carr, 2015). The advancement is appealing as we no longer need to move in search of information, but all we need is a computer with internet access. These issues have brought about cases of social anxiety, depression and other psychological problems among the users who are mainly teenagers. Learning has been tampered with, and more people have become less skilled which relates to the excessive need for automation.

The Saint Benedict rule guides us to autonomy by teaching humility and focusing on the spiritual state of an individual. It also teaches an individual on how to get rid of negative thoughts and emotions. The rule provides that addiction can be controlled by getting it right with God. By focusing on the spiritual state, one can overcome the life aspects that cause addiction (Casey, 2001). The problems of addiction to social media and the resultant health issues can be done away with by focusing on other aspects of life. This helps shift away thoughts from the things that give rise to such feelings. By focusing on personal growth and development, a positive experience can be established from the perspective of healthy living. True happiness and satisfaction is a reflection of good relation with God and therefore by praying, hard work, love, patience, and goodwill to others, redemption from life challenges can be achieved. The


In my current situation, I rarely use social media, primarily Facebook and Instagram. Being born in the 80s can influence this. For a very long period, I had not used Facebook until I learned the possibilities of addiction. I wanted to try and see what it will be like being addicted to social media but I can say over the time nothing much transpired. The use of social media and especially Facebook is a waste of time which can be targeted to other activities for personal gain. With this time, I can relate to friends and only use social media in sending text messages. I have usually assumed little interaction with social media through my smartphone and maintained the purpose of calling and sending text messages. In this approach, I have been able to learn and understand systems rather than depend on phone generated data. In my own opinion life starts on the internet. The problem I identified with social networks over time is the feeling of living beautiful and impressive life by focusing on the networks measure of success. This has affected teenagers using Instagram which instantly shares pictures with friends. A reflection of success in social media is not always the case in a normal situation. My current use of social media is limited as I have only been using it for communication. Therefore, I have no much attachment to social media, and I don't expect much change in this status.

Rationale for social media use in future

Social media and internet use has been snowballing over the last few decades. Statistics show that 35 % of the worlds population had access to the internet; however, this number had risen to 46% by mid-2016 (Steckman & Andrews, 2017). The number of new users is on the increase, and as a result, more people can access social media platforms. Nevertheless, the number of active social media users has only grown less. This can be attributed to the fact that for one reason or another, a high number of people who once used social media platforms seized to use the platforms again. Also, the dropout from social media can be attributed to lack of the interest of social media by those who are accessing the internet now. Social media use is higher on the young adults as compared to adults. Most people especially adults argue that social media use results to boredom. Therefore, social media use among the adults is expected to decrease even more in the future.


Despite the numerous advantages brought by the advancement of technology, serious challenges have come out. Technology has made life more straightforward and efficient. Connection and networking have led easy and fast access to information which in turn has influenced knowledge transfer. The most important aspect of the excessive use of technology is the effects on the human intelligence and consciousness (Carr, 2015). Automation and robotics are critical in development, but the systems have a detrimental impact on human life. The...

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