What Technology I Really Need? Maybe Maslow Has The Answer

We are in a fast-moving world of technology that can make it hard for us to absorb? Let us see what Maslow’s Pyramid has to say. 

The funny thing that it seems you need technology to choose your should-be technology!! So weird!

You need technology to protect yourself from another technology!

Or you need technology to facilitate the use of another technology. 

In sum, technologies are everywhere. You name it: mobile phones, computers, appliances, vehicles, sports, houses, and services. 

Above all of that is the word ‘smart‘!

When you add ‘smart’ to almost everything, it becomes more technologically advanced and intelligent. We have a smart TV, smartphone, smart home, smart car…..etc.  

Funny. As if the old technology was stupid; now, it has become smart.

So what is the deal here? Do we need all these new technologies and to be updated all the time?

The short answer is it depends.

However, we will not delve into the details and interpretations of technology or how we were and how we became.

Instead, we will run technologies against Maslow’s Pyramid to establish a foundation to assess our technological needs.

‘Maslow’s Pyramid’ of technology

In short, Maslow’s Pyramid is a hierarchy of needs that falls under three main categories basic, psychological, and self-fulfillment needs. These main categories are divided into five levels. 

maslow pyramid technology

The pyramid starts wide at the bottom with our essential needs as humans. Once you feel that your needs are fulfilled, you move up the need ladder until you reach self-actualization at the top. 

Now, the connection of our needs for technology and Maslow’s concept can be converged by identifying our needs against affordability within Maslow’s five levels. 

For example, let us assume that you barely afford your basic needs of food, water, and shelter. Any additional need may put you in jeopardy of losing your ability to afford one of these basic needs. 

As a rational person, it is hard to believe that you would trade off your shelter with a new Apple smartphone. When rationality is absent, everything is possible!

Well, if you can afford basic needs, in addition to your safety needs, the trade-off could be simple. 

You are now in the belongingness and love needs. The trade-off is more psychological than physiological. In other words, you may able to have a PlayStation 1 instead of a PlayStation 5.

ps5 technology

Or, you can save some money by not partying with your friends and put your savings on your PlayStation upgrade. It is a want rather than a need. 

As you grow and progress in your potentials, you may feel different and need prestige and a sense of accomplishment. The need here starts to take the shape of desire or aspiration. 

If you are a tech-savvy person and have reached that level, you may start to look for the latest technology in your favorite domain. The word ‘smart’ becomes your inherent friend. The latest voice-command Alexa or the latest 85- inch Samsung 8k screen can be what you desire. 

Alexa eco 4rh generation technology

samsung 8k technology

It is not obliging to be tech-savvy to love the latest technologies. You can enjoy the accomplishment of having them. 

As you reach the top of the mountain, the story becomes different. Affordability is not an issue here. You aspire for what makes you feel a sense i of self-actualization. 

What you have realized should be acknowledged. Now, You can reward yourself by getting a 24k gold Apple watch.

ساعة ابل الذهبية تكنولوجيا

You may feel that luxury is in your pocket, which could be true. Luxury famous brands can be your thing now. 

A helpful way to understand the connection between Maslow’s Pyramid and technology is to streamline our needs into five main streams: 

1st: Communication: 

Communication is a vast matter. Any form of contact that connects an entity with another can be deemed as communication.

This contact can be tangible as face to face encounter. It also can be intangible or virtual as meeting someone over Skype.

It can be a human, i.e., between persons. It can be between things like a system talking to a machine, which is the case of computers: the operating system translates your commands into action. 

Or it can be between a person and a thing like you giving a voice command to Siri to find you a nearby seafood restaurant. 

Another thing about communication is that it is interrelated with other technological streams. 

In some cases, you see it as entertainment or security. In some cases, it is just communication. 

If we search for communication in Maslow’s Pyramid, we can find it within the third level of social needs. 

You know, maybe this can be true when humans were hunter-gatherers or at other early phases of humankind’s history. 

Nowadays, it is hard to believe that we can live isolated without having any social contact. 

Sorry, Maslow. Communication is a basic need like any other basic need at the bottom level.

You need communications to get food. You need to communicate to have security. 

So we, as humans, find it hard to live without communicating with each other. 

Communications is a relative matter. What defines our need for communications is what we use and how we use it. What and how depends on affordability. 

You can use the same tool for different needs. For example, when you use your mobile to call your doctor for an urgent case, it is for communication. If you use the same phone for sending a message to a lottery show, even if it was a basic one, it can be seen as entertainment. 

And you can use various tools for the same need. For example, you can use the public phone to call someone. Or you can use a simple mobile like Nokia 3310. If you can afford more, Samsung S21 Ultra can be my choice. 

Samsung S21 ultra

If you are looking for prestige, you can be among, who get Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 first.  

samsung galaxy z fold 2

As for me, I have iPhone 7, which works just fine for me. It serves all my purposes and needs. Do I aspire to have the iPhone 12 Max? Yes, of course, I do, but my trade-off is not ready yet. 

2nd: Dwelling:

Maslow says dwelling is a basic need. 

Consequently, we need a place to live in. 

You may think that I cannot pursue technology, while I don’t have a shelter to keep me warm and safe. 

But what if technology relates to my dwelling needs. 

To figure out the connection, ask yourself why you need a dwelling? 

A short answer is I need it for rest, safety, and security. 

If you mull over these three aspects, you can find them related to the concept of comfort. Then, a dwelling is about comfort as well. 

Well, isn’t technology in its simple form about comfort? 

Technology is supposed to make your life easier and more efficient, but not necessarily simpler. 

Let us see how. 

When all you need is to lie down with a roof over your head after a long day of work, technology may seem far off your thinking. 

But when you have a dwelling that is not enough to provide the warmth and rest that you need, you start to lack comfort. 

Then, comfort becomes a demand. 

If technology, in its basic form, can help you get the comfort you need with less cost, It can be a choice. 

Here you are not looking for sophistication; you only need a simple solution that can provide you with the rest and warmth you need, remember!

Maybe a budget fan-heater can help you get through the cold nights. At the same time, it helps you to cool off during hot summer days. 

If you can afford an upgrade, a smart mattress with its gel-infused memory foam can give you a long resting sleep. 

As trade-offs become more available, you can start looking for some sophistication. Smart home options can give you rest, warmth, safety, and above all security. 

As a matter of fact “security and efficiency are the main reasons behind the increase in smart home technology use”

This interesting correlation brings us to the third stream, security. 

3rd: Security

Security is becoming a ubiquitous issue. 

There is your security as a person and the security of your belongings, communications, and surroundings.   

While safety and security are used interchangeably for the same purpose, security is your source of safety. 

Like in the dwelling, safety and security can bring you comfort. 

Without this comfort, your life can be a mess. 

Without feeling safe and secure, you will not enjoy your best technological communication devices or the highest smart home technologies. 

No wonder Maslow puts security and safety as basic needs. 

Your need for security technologies can stem from your feeling for protection. 

As your feeling for protection evolves, your pursuit for technological solutions varies.

This is where the technology of security steps in; To fill the gap of what traditional security cannot afford. 

When the technological solution for your security concerns seems efficient and effective, you may take the chances and consider it. 

It is what smart technologies are about. However, you need to be able to afford it. Otherwise, the traditional solution could be your sole solution. 

Instead of staying up late watching any suspicious movement around the house, a motion detector with sight and sound can be your optimal choice

Security can have a strong correlation with where you live. Carrying a weapon or having it as a stand-by in your house may not be your optimal solution to protect yourself or your beloved ones from a possible threat. 

The world has changed, and its rules and norms have evolved as well. This is not to say that some traditional security measures are not valid anymore. 

The issue is that while the world got smart, you need to go smart as well. 

The weapon you have might help you protect yourself from the threat as it happens; it might not be able to protect you from the consequences that it could incur. 

Being smart is to take all the security and safety precautions to prevent the threat from happening. This is how you protect yourself and your beloved ones from the threat and its consequences. It is your peace of mind. 

If you are smart enough to figure this out, you know that you need to upgrade your basic needs to have a sense of accomplishment. 

4th: Travel

What we mean by travel here is any sort of action you take to move from one point to another. 

So travel is an inclusive and extensive concept. Like the previous three streams, it is a progressive and evolving matter. 

It is more like communication that fits in all the levels of Maslow’s Pyramid. 

While you are seeking to get your basic needs of food, dwelling, and security, you may need to move and go somewhere else. 

Your social needs may require you to travel to another country to meet the “one and only”. 

You may need to travel to find your dream job that makes you feel accomplished. Or you may need to travel to seek new adventure or luxury. 

Accordingly, travel needs can be at any place within Maslow’s five levels. 

What connects travel to technology is the way we travel. 

Do you move basic or luxury? Do you move because you have to or to impress someone?

If you cannot afford travel’s cost, and you need to run from something, your feet would be your only option. 

Using subsidized public transportation may be enough, and all you need is a pair of noise-cancellation earbuds to enjoy the ride. 


But maybe you need to indulge yourself and enjoy your achievement by having an EV Supercar

ev supercars

Or all you need is ultra comfort and fly a luxurious first-class flight. You know why? Because you deserve it and can afford it as well. 

luxury flight technology

Now, it may seem like entertainment rather than just a travel need. 

It is our next stream. 

5th: Entertainment:

Do you agree that a life full of seriousness may look boring? If not, no need to continue reading this part. 

If yes, then a share of joy makes no harm, and please continue reading. 

Some see entertainment as a luxury, whereas others see it as a part of life. 

Now, the technology of entertainment is for sure not a basic need. 

Your laptop can be a means of communication with its basic shape. But these two top gaming laptops Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Acer Predator 21 X are an entertainment tool for sure. 

acer asus gaming computers

Like in communication, you can indeed enjoy yourself at an affordable trade-off. 

As affordability becomes no issue for you, everything you need takes another shape. 

Let us see how.

Dwelling is among your basic needs, while security is among the second tier of the basic needs. 

Travel and communication can be deemed among the psychological needs. 

Yet the four of them can fall under entertainment when you can meet or exceed their threshold of affordability. 

When all you need and afford is a roof over your head, any simple, safe home that protects you from being homeless and under threat is enough.

When your shelter becomes a mansion over the hell, overseeing the scenic sunset over the ocean, trust me, it is entertainment. 

When the front door of your house is sealed enough to protect you from a possible threat, but you opt to have a smart system that transforms security into comfort, it becomes entertaining.

Whereas you can reach your destination by public transportation, your sense of accomplishment affords to have one of the top EV trucks. Then, transport exceeds entertainment to be a luxury. 

rivian ev trucks

If it is hard for you to meet your beloved ones or work mates in person, Virtual Reality (VR) can transform them into avatars to spice up emotions. But you need to afford it first! 

We cannot overlook the fact that we need to entertain ourselves. The big issue here is what we can afford. 

Don’t get me wrong that only technology can bring you the joy of entertainment. 

Even at our basic needs, entertainment can be around. But like everything else in life, it is hard to stay still. Our needs change and evolve, and technology can be part of that change.  

What can we learn?

What we seem to learn here, both needs and technology are progressive matters rather than static. Both matters, the elasticity of affordability plays the trade-off deal. 

We do not believe that Maslow’s concept emerged from nowhere. 

You agree or disagree with Maslow, we have needs. How we prioritize them is what we could argue about. 

Within this argument, invention and innovation have transformed our lives. What we considered a luxury and secondary need decades ago, might be an essential need now.  

Data mining, artificial intelligence, and machine learning might be new concepts, but they were brought to life for a reason. It is the word smart. 

They help to create the right technology according to consumer needs, desires, and aspirations. It helps those who employ them find those who can afford technologies. 

In sum, technology is supposed to bring us comfort, efficiency, and joy. If that is not the case, you need to be smart enough to know that it is not for you. 

You still can be smart though!

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