Yesterday the NY Times ran a story about the worry in Silicon Valley of addiction to gadgets, and how it might affect stress levels and people's ability to focus. But today an article in the Atlantic takes issue with "gadget addiction," and instead highlights how workplace concerns are intruding more and more on employee's private lives, suggesting that the inability to put down your smartphone is merely a symptom, rather than a disease. "To elide that one of the reasons we spend so many hours in front of our screens is that we have to misses the key point about our relationship with modern technology. The upper middle class (i.e. the NYT reader) is working more hours and having to stay more connected to work than ever before. This is a problem with the way we approach labor, not our devices. Our devices enabled employers to make their employees work 24/7, but it is our strange American political and cultural systems that have allowed them to do so. And worse, when Richtel blames the gadgets themselves, he channels the anxiety and anger that people feel about 24/7 work into a different and defanged fear over their gadgets. The only possible answer becomes, 'Put your gadget down,' not 'Organize politically and in civil society to change our collective relationship to work.'"
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