KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Americans love technology. Eighty-one percent of us have a smart phone which means instant information in the palm of our hands. But all the clicking, googling, swiping and liking has led to a tech addiction.
Sociologist Dr. Tricia Bruce say it’s like a dopamine hit.
“We like it when someone “likes” something on social media or we look down and we have constant access to information. “
But she adds the technological “give and take” has consequences.
“We can think about the potential for government or private companies to use our data in negative ways. That very addiction and satisfaction we get can be used against us,” she said.
Dr. Bruce says, in a world where technology connects us, it also has the potential to isolate us.
“I think people fairly raise questions about how much we interact. We are no longer having that face-to-face type of interaction, and you add to that the fact that companies can be very strategic about gathering our data and tailoring advertising to us. You begin to question ‘Is this reality or is my reality actually being constructed by the technology that is around me’.”
Given that, are we on track to becoming a society “done in” by our tech addiction? Dr. Bruce says more experts say technology has done more to help us than hurt us.
“Technology does a lot of good, whether it’s being able to fly across the country, being able to work from home, being able to use a dating device to meet someone.”
But Dr. Bruce adds, the one thing technology can’t do is replace you.
“Life, death tragedy, celebration, in those kinds of moments people tend to come together. I think there is nothing that can replace the physical presence of each other,“ she said.