Sunday, 24 August 2014

Post 5: Techno-dystopia

In case you're the sort of person who can't handle metal, the link above is to Fear Factory's 1998 album, Obsolete. It's a concept album following your generic techno-dystopian narrative about a world where machines have taken over and humans have been reduced to slaves who couldn't keep up with the times.

Techno-dystopia's quite common in sci-fi, and personally I think there's a good reason for that. Sure, it'd be sweet to have machines do everything, but we gotta consider the consequences.

Take those exercise devices we saw at the end of last week's seminar. Moov for example is only about $80. Compare that to the cost of a personal trainer, which is usually a minimum of $30 an hour. For now, people may prefer the face-to-face interaction that you get with an actual trainer and will be willing to pay the extra cost. But Moov will probably develop and become more advanced (and more afforable) over time. As we see with how often people use facebook chat these days (people in my own flat will sometimes prefer to talk through facebook chat when they can't be fucked getting out of their rooms) even if initially met with skepticism, people tend to get more comfortable and more reliant on the new technology over time. As such, if Moov were to somehow get more and more advanced (maybe one day turning into some sort of personal training android), it could do some damage to the personal training industry. The amount of damage will probably depend on how it, and similar devices develop over-time.

In a similar vein, I currently work a fast-food job making pizza and dough for Pizza Hut. If some genius were to make some automated dough-making machine, or pizza topping machine, you can be sure that Restaurant Brands is gonna jump on that bandwagon once they can afford to and boost profits by saving labour. At the same time, they'll be making people such as myself obsolete and needing to find a new job.

As argued by Winner in the first reading, people really don't give a shit as long as the dough's rolling. In the words of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan, "Cash Rules Everything Around Me, get the money, dolla, dolla bill y'all"

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