I write science fiction, and one enduring trope of science fiction is the idea of combining humans and machines — "cyborgs," to use the term popularized in the 1960s. The notion is far older, going back to Neil R. Jones's "Professor Jameson" stories, if not to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Man That Was Used Up." Those two works neatly embody the two ways that science fiction has used the cyborg idea.
In Poe's tale the artificial parts of his fictional General John A.B.C. Smith conceal the fact that there is almost nothing left of him after his many campaigns. Smith is less than a man. This type of cyborg became more and more common in fiction as society became more industrialized and people worried about dehumanization by technology. A machine-man was a dandy symbol for that.
The other ancestral cyborgs, Neil Jones's alien "Zoromes" are the flip side of the dehumanized or "used up" human patched together with mechanical parts. The Zoromes are superhuman, immortal, and benevolent. Their artificial bodies let them venture out into the universe to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no machine-men have gone before. This was in 1931, by the way.
We see those two threads run through science fiction right to the present — dire warning of dehumanization versus utopian vision of transhumanism.
But both visions miss something really important: we've been cyborgs all along!
No, I'm not talking about eyeglasses, or even clothing (though both are perfectly good examples of low-tech "cyborg" equipment). I'm talking about something much more fundamental and universal: cooking.
When you cook food, you're using an external energy source (fire) to make the food easier to digest. You're breaking down protein and cellulose molecules before putting anything in your mouth. You're also warming it up — very important during those long Ice Age winter nights. All of those things require energy to accomplish, and if you don't cook with fire you have to supply that energy from your own body.
Let's put it into science-fictional terminology: "The inhabitants of Earth have become so dependent on technology that they are unable to eat most natural foods. Everything they consume must be processed using chemical energy, specialized devices, and chemicals." If that isn't a race of cyborgs I don't know what is!
Being able to tap external power sources is not a trivial advantage. It allowed humans to survive the Ice Age in Europe, Asia, and North America. It doubled or tripled human lifespan: a human whose teeth have worn out can still eat if the food is cooked enough. This allows those elders to pass on knowledge or look after the children while the younger adults are out hunting and gathering.
This is why I don't worry about the "dehumanizing effects of technology." Technology is the thing that makes us human.