Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
fub

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Technology in the Media - final thoughts

breyten responded to my post again, and ankie also made some valid points.

In particular, ankie pointed out that more recent movies had a more positive outlook on technology. That may be the case -- it is an interesting point, and I'll keep that in mind when seeing another movie in the theatres.
She also contends that technology is often only a tool, instead of the cause of the evilness. That may be, but it also shows that technology is a very effective Tool of Evil -- technology isn't value-neutral in such a movie. And Jurassic Park is a warning about using too much technology, precisely because we can't predict what huge complicated systems are going to do.

breyten thinks that no-one is terrified of technology. Let me set you straight: maybe not you or me, but we are exceptions. We are surrounded by technology all day, and we have become used to it -- but we are not the norm.
There is legislation about xenotransplantations, about genetically modified foodcrops, about stemcell research. What other motivations than fear lie behind these laws? Or, maybe a bit closer to home: when was the last time an elderly relative of yours was able to set up his own computer? Why don't people experiment and play with their technology, why are they afraid to tread outside of the paths they know? It is because technology is alien to them.
A good example of the ambivalence with respect to technology can be seen in the cyberpunk literature of the mid-80's. Technology is used to create a 'system' in which people are 'trapped' by those who designed the system. Corporations keep constant tabs on their employees, privacy is a thing of the past with all sorts of sneaky surveilance, etc. The heroes of the cyberpunk novels are tech-savvy individuals who manipulate the technology (and thus the system) to achieve their own goals. In that respect, technology is glorified -- but if you read between the lines, you can see that it was the technology that enabled the 'system' to be created in the first place. And the 'system' is certainly a distopia. Even the most tech-savvy genre of SF is warning us against using too much technology!

Yes, there are counter-examples. But in general, technology gets the short end of the stick in movies. Just like the 50's had monsters lurking just under the murky waters of any lake, today's movies have sentient computer systems waiting to wipe out humanity.
Tags: philosophy, technology
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