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Technology In Forster's The Machine Stops

868 words - 3 pages

The Internet provides accuracy, productivity, and possibilities that would be devastating if suddenly missing. Because of man’s resiliency, I don’t think that we would experience Armageddon if the Internet stopped. I do believe our world would become larger for a while. The miles shortened by email would lengthen due to postage delivery. The nanosecond returns to a minute, and memory would be placed back in photo albums and diaries. All changes would be temporary until necessity, and personal desire would lead the way to new technology. In the end, one truth stands; with technology comes great responsibility.
The Machine Stops (Forster, 1909), contrasts in two main characters approach technology y. 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 finds the Machine distasteful, and 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 dependence on it.
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 possibly spent many evenings walking through the vomitories. How interesting that he incorporates an ancient infrastructure into such an advanced society. As I ponder further; I easily 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 hold a photo does not satisfy the need to communicate, 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) Restrictions are...

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