How Accelerating Technology Accelerates Addiction

Shaun Smerling
2 min readJun 22, 2022

New technological progress is innately beneficial to society inasmuch as that said society has the means to rail in the moderate usage of this innovation.

What new tech does for us is give us more of what we want. With that privilege comes the increasing importance to balance our abundance, but as anyone who has faced addiction knows well — its extremely hard to moderate something which you have unlimited access to.

Technology will essentially give us more things we like which will mean there will have to be more things that we are careful with. As the more we like it, the more it succumbs to overconsumption.

I know a lot of people that have problems with internet addiction. Upon opening their eyes in the morning, the first action they take is to check their phone for a regularly scheduled dopamine hit. If thats you, then tread cautiously.

I say tread cautiously because in taking these actions — in feeding our brains cheap dopamine, comparing with other high status individuals on Instagram, or getting increasing access to highly stimulating material (porn, violence, etc) — our new baseline of normal is set without our body readily being able to adjust.

The difference between one being able to live normally (what everyone deems normal) and what is actually normal (what works best for your body) is growing exponentially. That space in between is where the slow burn of the worst side effects can occur.

Is this the reason mental health grows at a proportional rate? Or men’s consumption of porn? Do the Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram videos we see everyday diminish our attention span? Does this translate to us wanting to leave relationships faster, commit to things for shorter amount of times, and always feeling that we aren’t “enough”?

I don’t know. Honestly, this essay may now start to sound like i’m very pessimistic. I’m not. I love technology, and i’m an optimist at heart. Thats why i’m writing this.

If the acceleration of addiction is correlated to technological innovation, then our society now, along with all other future generations, will increasingly be defined by what we choose to say no to.

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