A person is a thing that leases his life back — every moment of it — from technology, which charges him rent for digital existence. Such a person is a neo-serf. He has no real agency or autonomy or independence whatsoever. His choices are all decided in advance, by computer programs — whether about whom to date, what to do at work, or what to read and learn. Instead of being an owner of property — a home, assets, investments — he is constantly leasing his life back, in a kind of reverse-rental ponzi scheme of human potential, from programs which somehow, have come to own even his subjectivity, his selfhood — his thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, intentions, desires. In this way, he is not really a person in the modern sense, a being with dignity, rights, meaning, and purpose— he is just a premodern creature, who pays lifelong rent to algorithms for the most basic acts of existence: for relationships, ideas, knowledge, intimacy, truth, selfhood itself. What else do you call such a person but a techno-serf?

What Happens When Technology Makes Us Go Backwards?