MUCH OF WHAT we hear about technology these days is a grim, dystopian recitation of what tech is doing to us: We have become addicted to our screens; our every move is being watched, overheard, recorded, predicted; and malign forces are manipulating us to believe that down is up. And we should be deeply concerned about all that. But it’s also important to take stock of what tech is doing for us—how we, as human beings, have seen our agency expanded and deepened by digital tools.
Technology is a medium; sometimes it’s a humanizing, enchanting one. “Something about the interior life of a computer remains infinitely interesting to me; it’s not romantic, but it is a romance,” writes Paul Ford in his WIRED essay “Why I (Still) Love Tech.” “You flip a bunch of microscopic switches really fast and culture pours out.” To accompany Ford’s essay, we reached out to a bunch of people to ask them about the technology they love—the tools that make them better at being human. Here’s what we heard back.