Rapid advances in technology in the recent decades have transformed our daily lives: the way we work, get news, communicate, shop, entertain ourselves. While technological progress has been actively and noticeably making its way into our daily lives, it has also effected the way our society functions which may not be as evident. From this perspective, technology constitutes a powerful tool that opens up possibilities for integration, communication, and production that could only be conceived in theory just a century ago. At the same time, however, technological progress offers means for turning the democratic values in the opposite direction.

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In ideal society envisioned my Marx in 19th century, people were expected to be free of compulsory labor. Instead they would have to engage in activities they find interesting and pleasing. The foreseen commonality of all means of capital and all the products would be divided between all the individuals according to their needs. For this ideal societal order to be achieved the means and methods of producing goods would have to be almost entirely autonomous to enable exclusion of manual laborers (Marx). Today, for the first time ever, the pace of technological progress has us anticipating the near future where technological devices and robots will cover all the manual labor. For a communist society, where all the production means, technologies, and inventions are owned by all the people, and thus, all the produced goods are owned communally, such technologies and robotics would allow to provide the whole population with the needed products without them having to work the dirty jobs.

As the technological means of production are not owned privately in communist society, the generated wealth would profit every member of society instead of enriching the individual owner as it happens in capitalist societies. The replacement of workers by technology is a great source of social distress in capitalist societies rights now, as many unskilled laborers are about to be laid off the work force without having any alternative means for making a living. Thus, technological process as a prospective source of public wealth in communist societies appears to be a potential source of poverty and widening of gap between the rich and the poor.

Technology grants us access to incredible amount of information every day. In return, users have to make available their personal details. The convenience of communication with the use of gadgets has a price-tag attached to it. Users are forced to sacrifice their privacy to a certain extent to be able to enjoy the comfort of remote conversations as there is always a risk that the content of their dialogues might be accessed by the third parties. In communist society such a possibility would make up an advanced tool for monitoring the private lives of citizens and policing their thoughts and attitudes to ensure conformity to the views that are accepted as proper for the society in question. Thus, the convenience of technological means of communication would simultaneously make every used accessible for governmental surveillance.

Using technology and new social media for spying on citizens and their personal communication, however, is something that not only communist society’s rulers would do. As it became known in recent years, capitalist democratic societies make use of this possibility of looking behind the closed doors of individual lives as well (The Coming Insurrection). Even though it is claimed that this is being done for security purposes, listening to private conversations and monitoring private correspondence for red flag topics is violation made possible by advances of technology.

Looking from another perspective, the availability of personal information about individuals enables the use of personalized marketing to people who are most likely to be interested in the advertised product. Apart from increased effectiveness of targeted advertising and bigger sales, this creates an opportunity to produce and vend very specific products to narrow segments of interested population which would be difficult and inefficient to do with the means of massive marketing. Thus, informational technologies promote further specialization and individualization of products offered on the market in contrast with versatile generic products on mass market. This gives way for creativity and small initiatives that target very narrow niches.

While technology creates opportunities for small businesses to take up some shares of market, the technological industry itself operates according to opposite principles. There are little chances for attracting and retaining customers for companies that do not dominate the industry. In the tech market, the winner gets everything, as there is little rationale for users of say social networks to migrate to platforms that integrate less users than Facebook. Thus, while technology creates opportunities for small businesses in various spheres, the tech industry itself operates on different assumptions that do not leave room for any middle positions. As technological sphere is expected to grow even faster there is a real risk of this exclusive approach to doing businesses to expand even further, contributing to a further disconnect between the rich and the poor.

Drawing conclusions, advance in technology transform many aspects of our lives and carry enormous potential gain and danger different societal orders. Namely, automated production could bring about society envisioned by Marx, where no one would have to engage in manual labor. Yet, the same prospect of machines replacing workers might cause the raise of unemployment in capitalist society. Further, new means of communication accumulate large amount of personal information about users that can be accessed for surveillance and policing opinions. Lastly, informational technologies offer new opportunities for personalized marketing which grants small businesses a chance to attract customers along with big companies. Yet, the trend-setting tech industry itself tends to adhere to “winner gets everything” principle, which leaves little chances for small to medium sized companies.