In Uglies, technology can tell us a lot about what a society values. For instance, the Smokies live a primitive existence (they can't even make their own dehydrated food), but they put the energy into having a library because they value knowledge and history, instead of, say, drunken parties where people jump off buildings for fun. Bo-ring. Meanwhile, the city has a surgery that can turn people into superhuman Specials—but it only gives that to a few people. (Everyone else gets drunk and jumps off buildings for fun.) That use of technology tells us something about how this city runs: with a couple of Special people on top and everyone else under them.
New technology in Uglies doesn't really change the important stuff: friendship, love, society, food.
In Uglies, new technology always fails and the best technology is the old stuff that's already been tested.