Technological developments have followed one another at a rapid pace in recent years. We all sometimes feel that we can no longer keep up. Or even worse: that we are overtaken by technology, that we develop self-learning systems that become so smart that they surpass us. Is it time we reclaimed control of our own lives?

No, the fear of technology is unnecessary. It presupposes a boundary between man and technology, between natural and unnatural, that is not there at all. We cannot escape technology. Man has always been a technical being.

The primitive man already used techniques to function better. When people started making spears, they were better able to catch prey. People were not the fastest, but those who are not strong must be smart. Because man started making weapons, it could handle animals that were much stronger than himself. From the moment that man started practicing agriculture, he could stay in one place. This allowed him to engage in other things than pure survival. Because we have developed and used techniques, we have influenced the direction of our own evolution.

Modern technology may have a different shape than the techniques we used in prehistoric times. However, its function is unchanged. Take Siri, for example. We shouldn't see this smart chatbot from Apple as an enemy. On the other hand, we can better consider it as an extension of our bodies. Because we let Siri look up information for us, have routes mapped out and have e-mails answered, we ourselves have time to deal with more complicated tasks. The chatbot takes over the simple tasks from us, which gives us extra space to further develop ourselves.

In fact, we never act completely autonomously. We have never been and will never be fully autonomous. What we do is always partly determined by external factors. For example, we do not control the death of our loved ones, even though it does have a major impact on our lives. When we're in mourning, we probably don't feel like partying. We are not in the mood.

We must properly relate to these external factors. Technology can help us with this. Due to the development of medical technology, we have been able to keep people alive for much longer and we can better predict when someone will die. This makes it easier for the next of kin to deal with such a major event.

In short, techniques do not alienate us from who we are. They enable us to become human. The technique allows us to do inhuman things, but only humans can do inhuman things. Techniques help us to adapt to external circumstances. That works evolutionarily to our advantage. It makes us flexible. It leads to us not just dying out at the first best big change but easily adapting.

We need to see technology as part of ourselves, an extension. Technology is no less natural than we are. Technology makes us who we are. So, robots will indeed be in charge in the future - but we are those robots ourselves.
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We need to see technology as part of ourselves, an extension. Technology is no less natural than we are.