Monday, February 5, 2007

The Future? (Technology of Fear and Necessity)

Drab. Dark. Empty.

These are a few words I'd use to describe the world that exists within Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Everything is dead or dying as the Earth tries to heal iteself beneath a blanket of radioactive dust. Many of mankind's members have fled the planet, leaving the remaining people in a place where they'll continually and eventually become stupider due to radiation. Those living among the stars have their own little android "slaves" to accompany them and tend to their every whim and will.

Occasionally, one of the mechanical masterpieces will get a mind of its own and flee to Earth, where police-funded mercenaries track them down and eliminate them. If they are not "retired" they have the potential to turn against humanity in a violent fashion. For this reason they are hunted down when they arrive on the Earth.

I'm overwhelmed by the bleakness of Philip K. Dick's view on the future in this novel. It seems to me that technology has become such a necessity in Dick's novelization that a human cannot function without it, as compared to how a human would function on any given day in today's society. Many of the themes were already discussed in class, such as the mood organ and empathy box. However, as much as the society of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep seems to rely exclusively on technology, they also seem to fear it. Androids turn against humanity and become a physical threat. Violence leads to fear, and thus the fear of technology.

Do you think our society is headed into an age where we will both require and fear technology? I surely hope not. Then again, technology is a broad topic. The invention of the horse-pulled carriage was an advancement in technology. Dick's novel describes the sci-fi-esque classic "hovercar," another advancement in the same field. I suppose I'm referring to more futuristic and computer-based technology when I ask the question of whether technology is to be required and feared. Personally, I have seen computers, cellphones, and other such objects to be extra items in my life, not necessary for my existence. I don't need my PS2 to have fun, but I will admit it is an object I use often. Then again, I'd be perfectly content to sit out on the lawn with a pencil and paper and just let my imagination run wild for a while, and that would be equally as fun. (Off Topic: Exception to that last statement would be the current weather. It's below zero out there... you won't see me sitting on the grass anytime soon!!!)

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