The topic of our final essay in Writing 121 is: How is technology affecting our lives? What do you have to say about it? I’m thinking about using the following as my intro and would love feedback.
Will the Internet Save Us or Destroy Us?
When the the popular sci-fi movie The Matrix first came out in theaters I had just turned thirteen, and I sneaked into the theater three times to watch it. The movie’s about Neo, who after discovering that the world around him is a computer simulation made by machines using humans as batteries in the distant future, must learn to break the rules of the computer environment in which he once dwelt–in order to defeat the the internal security program Agent Smith–to save humanity by “unplugging them” from the artificial world they unknowingly dwell. In one of my favorite scenes, Agent Smith has Morpheus (who freed Neo) held captive, trying to break his will, and Smith tells him:
I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.
His statement can be argued in a number of ways, but what strikes me is the parallel between the way Smith describes our relation to nature, and our loss of equilibrium with technology. A program calling a human a virus is perfectly parallel to our situation: technology has taken over our lives, particularly the internet, which has grown so vast that it does make one feel like a virus in a world rapidly disappearing in exchange for a virtual simulation. And if it came to that, who’s to say our technology wouldn’t end up controlling us in a way similar to the movie. Although, I don’t think the future of humanity can be reduced to a Duracell battery, it’s clear we’re at a point with our technology in which we must ask ourselves if the rewords are worth the cost because all technology comes with a tradeoff.