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Society´S Dependence On The Internet As In The Machine Stops By E.M. Forster

1133 words - 5 pages

The Internet provides accuracy, productivity, and possibilities that would affect our day-to-day lives if suddenly missing. Because of man’s resiliency, I don’t think that we would experience Armageddon if the Internet stopped; our world would not be better or worse without the Internet. I believe our world would become different for a while; need and desire would quickly lead the way to new and improved technology to advance and rebuild a more powerful system.
I believe that on a personal basis if the Internet were to be lost people would be affected in varying degrees. In the story The Machine Stops (Forster, 1909), there is a contrast to the two main characters approach to technology. Vashti, impatient with her son, Kuno, at the slightest delay as indicated when he dawdled for 15 seconds, "Be quick!" She called, her irritation returning. "(Forster 1) Kuno finds it acceptable to dawdle. Kuno scolds his mother for dependence on The Machine, “The Machine is much, but it is not everything.” (Forster 1) This is similar to the approach that was discussed as we identified if we were digital immigrants or digital natives. (01 Computing Autobiography Discussion) Most natives indicated a dependency on technology; immigrants indicated a practical need to learn technology, but reminisced about the “old ways”. Obviously Kuno has been raised in a technologically rich age yet, still resists dependency on it.
Necessity would lead us to find a replacement for the loss of the Internet. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. I am left to wonder what necessity in the life of Forster allowed him to have such prophetic insight into future technology. If a lover of the theatre; he spent many evenings walking through the vomitories. How interesting that he incorporates an ancient infrastructure into such an advanced society. Look further and see the need to hear the voice, and see the face of a friend who has moved far away. Did a loss such as this stir the visions of the cinematophote? To look into a glowing blue screen and see the face, and hear the voice of a friend eases the pain of distance. Finally, it may have been the need for Forster to replace a confining rule book of a traditional religion with a new rule book, The Book of the Machine. The new book still held restrictions, including what is acceptable for public touching, “People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine.” (Forster 5) Such restrictions are tolerable because of the personal-comfort knowledge The Book of the Machine provides. The book became an object of worship for Vashti as we see when we read, “Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence. “ (Forster 3)
Personal desire gives birth to some technology; desire to no longer be a beast of burden; spending more time pursuing comforts, less time punching a clock. If we continue to become ever more connected what will our professional...

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