Philosophers debate the degree to which our lives are governed by the so-called "technological imperative," as described by Daniel Chandler:
The doctrine of the technological imperative is that because a particular technology means that we can do something (it is technically possible) then this action either ought to (as a moral imperative), must (as an operational requirement) or inevitably will (in time) be taken.
One doesn't have to believe in the inevitability of the technological imperative to recognize that it is nearly always true. Japan's rejection of western firearms for several centuries is often cited as one of the few exceptions, but even it couldn't last.
In the 18th century, Thomas Earnshaw and James Hargreaves simultaneously invented machines to reduce the labor involved in producing yarn. Earnshaw destroyed his machine, fearing it would leave many poor people without incomes, but the gesture was futile: Hargreaves' spinning jenny did exactly that, so Earnshaw's scruples meant only that Hargreaves grew rich instead of him.
Business technology abounds with examples of the technological imperative. The advent of the photocopier vastly widened the circulation of business documents. Data processing led to much more data being retained and used. Modern networking technology inevitably gave us always-on jobs that can never be left at the office. And the ability to send large numbers of email for free gave us spam, despite all our efforts to stop it.
Today, we are in a transitional stage regarding archiving technology. In the era of analog telephony, i