Effects Of Technology In A Utopian Society

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Register to read the introduction… Conversely, our society today is one of “wants.” Elementary school-age children want cell phones, IPods, and expensive computer games. Adults want to keep up appearances with expensive cars that can be started from inside your home and secured in garages with magical doors that open with the touch of a button. Unlike Forster’s world, we as individuals have to earn a living to obtain these “wants.” All of these points illustrate how the development of technology is moving us towards a society with utopian elements. Although the inhabitants in Forster’s world are content with their quality of living in their world as it exists, a high level of isolation and lack of social interaction exists. No one ever left their rooms. There were no public gatherings, and touching of one another was forbidden. All of this contributes to the lack of having to think, making things easier, and in time, lowering the level of one’s intelligence. This is all thanks to the Machine. Forster’s protagonist Kuno yearns for a higher level of humanity and interaction amongst the inhabitants of Forster’s world. He attempts to explain to his mother that the Machine is not the end all. He asserts his point when saying “It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act. It has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it (p.15).” …show more content…
The television has turned into a technological baby sitter. Parents simply place their children in front of the TV while they perform other household tasks or even step out of the home. A family no longer gathers at the dining room table for dinner. Instead, dinners are eaten in front of the TV. It is evident that without making a conscious effort to balance technology and its effects on social interaction, there will indeed be a “dumbing down” of society. It is not uncommon for utopias to become dystopic. As seen in “The Machine Stops,” as the Machine gains strength, inhabitants become more subservient and Vashti and Kuno’s seemingly utopian world quickly crumbles. Forster illustrates that the Machine has progressed to the point where humanity is being sacrificed/destroyed when he writes, “But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine (p.20).” Forster shows us that in an effort to maintain a utopian society by providing numerous conveniences to its inhabitants, the level of humanity is compromised. This is clearly a case of too much of a good thing is not necessarily good. It is here that the message of Forster’s story becomes quite clear. It is simply not possible to have technological advances without carefully monitoring and balancing so that humanity and social interaction are not compromised.

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