Technology is so integrated into our daily lives that without it life would be more difficult. The genre of science fiction is about technology and predicts what the future might hold. Also, science fiction warns humanity about the consequences of technology. In the stories we read the authors warned that violence is a consequence of technology, and causes humans to become lazy. However, they also proved technology can be used for learning.
A common theme throughout science fiction is that technology causes violence. The article we read by Douglas Gentile, “The Effects of Video Games on Children: What Parents Need to Know” specifically addresses violent video games. It states that, “Playing violent games leads to increased physiological arousal, increased aggressive thoughts, increased aggressive feelings, and increased aggressive behaviors” (Gentile). Dr. Gentile proves that violent games increases aggression through observing children having played video games in their normal environment. Similarly, in “The Veldt” Peter and Wendy are violent, “Death thoughts. They were awfully young… Long before you knew what death was you were wishing it on someone else. When you were two years old you were shooting people with cap pistols” (Bradbury).
This quote demonstrates that certain technology can effect young children and make them start to think about killing others. Without technology the children would not have toys to “kill” each other. In “Ender’s Game”, by Orson Scott Card, Ender does have the technology “toys” to kill others. At the end of the story Ender asks, “So tell me how many people were on that planet that I destroyed” (Card 29). This quote proves that with technology there can be mass destruction. Without technology Ender would not have been capable of destroying an entire planet full of innocent people. This makes technology highly responsible for creating violence. Also, Technology is responsible for humans becoming lazy.
A recurrent theme within science fiction stories is that the more people rely on technology the lazier people will become. Laziness is a dominant theme in the movie Wall-E. The spaceship’s technology is one of the main reasons for the humans becoming lazy. The second scene after reaching the Axiom has two people are having a conversation through a screen even though they are right next to one another. A second example of their laziness is when the captain is introduced. The robots do everything to get him ready, sit him up, wash him, and dress him (Disney/Pixar). Both these scenes from Wall-E clearly show that with technology humans need to do less for themselves. As a result the humans can do nothing for themselves. Likewise, in “The Veldt” technology allows humans to never need to go anywhere.
George talks about the amazing features of the nursery: “Crystal walls…They look real, I must admit… But it’s all dimensional, superreactionary, supersensitive color film and mental tape film” (Bradbury). This quote describes how the nursery works and how real it makes everything seem. Due to the amazing technology of the nursery the Hadley’s would never need to leave their house. Which allows them to just sit around being inactive and sluggish. Therefore, the technology in science fiction literature is often a warning to people that the more they rely on the advancements of technology the more likely it is that they will become lethargic and lifeless. Nonetheless, when technology is not overused it can be very beneficial.
Technology can be great when it is used for learning. “Flowers for Algernon” uses technology to make Charlie smarter. Even though Charlie is smart for a short time advancements can made. In the beginning of the story Charlie talks about the surgery when he says, “Miss. Kinnian says maybe they can make me smart” (Keyes 1). Charlie has a hard time describing an operation to make him capable of learning because he is mentally challenged. However, with Charlie’s surgery he will be able to learn and his life can be improved. Another article by Douglas Gentile praises video games by saying, “Video games are natural teachers. Children find them highly motivating by virtue of their interactive nature” (Gentile). In his article Gentile states that video games naturally are engaging and great teachers.
Hence, technology if used correctly always can be used for learning. In a documentary on technology affecting behavior, Dr. Rich described video games as, “They are arguably the best teaching tool we have…You are not only being exposed to situations and people and concepts but you are actively involved in them” (How do video games affect behavior?). Dr. Rich is saying that video games are very engaging and result in a very good educator. He feels that being exposed to more unique situations allows one to learn from not only what they have done well but also their mistakes. Thus, technology can also be seen in science fiction literature as a positive learning device.
In conclusion, technology can be useful but can also have negative effects. In science fiction literature, common consequences of technology were promoting violence and instilling laziness. Most science fiction literature had negative consequences, however, in several stories the positives of technology proved it to be a great teacher. It will depend on humans to decide weather to overuse technology or to be more cautious and only use it when needed. Will the future hold a better world than which we live in today or will our advancements cause it to be destroyed?