In my presentation titled “Dystopian Obsession with Technological Traditionalism”, I will be discussing the conservative approach dystopias take towards technological progression. The presentation won’t be focusing on the analysis of dystopias; rather, it will look inside of dystopian texts and examine the pattern of hyper traditionalism with regards to technological innovation. To find these patterns, I look at several YA dystopian texts and one YA dystopian TV show. To maximize the power of my arguments, I chose only sci-fi dystopias, ones set in the future. This would have revealed a rather large gap in my argument: the existence of sci-fi dystopias prove that dystopias are not against the improvement of technology. I address this (and more) by asserting that the innovation occurred before the dystopia, not after. Furthermore, technological innovation that does occur is either done by the protagonist as a rebellion against an authoritarian government, or by the antagonist: small iterative improvements with the sole purpose of plot-progression.
I also look into possible explanations for this seemingly arbitrary pattern. Regardless of the format, dystopias continue to opt for the status quo. Common quotes such as “this is the way it has always been” (coincidentally first quoted in ComputerWorld) are widespread.
The answer relies on a duality that exists within our societies today, and the author’s attempt to connect the two opposites, relieving the cognitive dissonance in our views towards future technologies. Not only do we look forward to (and fund) breakthroughs in science and tech, we have a deep-rooted fear of change. Whether we use isolation, social change, or skynet to manifest our fears of technology, the argument can be boiled down to one anxiety: change.
The characters’ strange following of the mysterious pattern of traditionalism augments the author’s argument, regardless of intent. By explaining its purpose, we can further look into the purpose of literature and shows, revealing the fears fictional characters have towards technology that exists far far away.