Technology in dystopias is quite a broad topic for conducting research, and I soon found many articles connecting the two. But throughout my time searching, one such source stood above the rest. In “Technology in the Dystopian novel,” Gorman Beauchamp explores the depth at which technology exists within societies, and how it brings about their destruction. Primarily, Beauchamp bases his argument on the dangerous possibilities that arise with the expansion of technology. A totalitarian empire coupled with an advanced technological apparatus could conceivably arise in the future. This type of technotopia would bring into question the methods a government would employ that would limit the general public’s use of such devices. Furthermore, Beauchamp insists that if a society eventually develops into a dystopia, people will worship the Machine, abandoning much of their power as individuals. He concludes that the fall of man will end with the aspirations to become such a machine, and so too lose what makes us human.
Beauchamp employs interesting key terms to combine the fears of dystopia and technology. He presents the idea of a technotopia, an advanced totalitarian government which controls the country via a far reaching technological device. This sort of technological dystopia could arise when man is ignorant of his creations, and they eventually transcend his reach. This evolves into Beauchamp’s concept of the Machine, which takes the faith of the people who worship it mindlessly. This occurs when the state is taken over by technology to the point where life itself relies on the mechanical deity to survive. Many other researchers interested in technology and dystopia would find a use for the source. The concepts Beauchamp introduces are good food for thought when considering what to search for next.
The article is organized in a thoughtful, comprehensive way. Beauchamp presents his ideas by outlining how technology becomes more and more incorporated into society over time. The article begins with how technology is incorporated in modern society and ends with the full takeover of machine power. It is an important source because of the unique views offered about how controlling technology can become. He presents this view of the future to provide an interesting view on how societies could fall through the overuse of technology. The dehumanization of people and emersion of technology as a ruling power emphasizes how fine a line we are on when it comes to progress and society. Beauchamp’s article highlights how bad a dystopia can be when we are enslaved to the very machines we create, and it offers a new look on what kind of dystopia will form from our own actions.
- Beauchamp, Gorman. “Technology in the Dystopian Novel.” Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 32 no. 1, 1986, pp. 53-63. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/mfs.0.1315. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/244281.