Technology in a Utopian Society: Is It a Good Thing?

Topics: Utopia, Technology, The Machine Stops Pages: 4 (1399 words) Published: April 2, 2013
Technology in a Utopian Society: Is it a Good Thing?
What is living in a perfect world like? Is a perfect world even possible? How does technology and social interaction factor into a society aiming towards one that is utopian? Technology is ever-present in our society today. It has helped us become more efficient, more accessible, and provides us with a level of instant gratification we have not always had. These appear to be some upsides to technology. It moves and develops so quickly that one may have thought that they have just purchased the most recent version of an IPad, only to realize that a new version is going to be released next week. From a social interaction point of view, it is not uncommon to be in a restaurant and see two people sharing a meal without even conversing with each other. Instead, they are emailing or texting others with their cell phones. In the short story “The Machine Stops,” writer E.M. Forster argues that the development and progression of technology in his utopian society, coupled with the lack of social interaction in it, will result in the “dumbing down” and dehumanization of society, ultimately resulting in a dystopia. Our society today strives for a utopian world as well. However, unless there is a conscious effort made to keep a balance between technology and social interaction, the progression of technology will hinder our level of social interaction, just as it did in Forster’s story. In Forster’s story, the inhabitants in his seemingly utopian world appear to only have “needs.” They do not have a desire to “want” anything. The Machine provides for all. Small, empty rooms are inhabited by a single individual and shaped like honeycomb cells. Forster believes that “buttons and switches [will be] everywhere-buttons to call for food for music, for clothing.” He exaggerates further when he claims that a “hot-bath button” will fill our tubs with “warm deodorized liquid,” not to mention a “cold-bath button” as well. To take it...

Cited: Forster, E.M. The Machine Stops. Oxford and Cambridge Review, 1909.
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