The thing that interests me the most about dystopias is comparing the quality of life between the dystopia and real life. The technology tends to be more significantly more advanced in the dystopia. However, the advance in technology can point out some flaws in human nature. For example, a Black Mirror episode showcases a seemingly wonderful technology. The technology allows the elderly to enter a virtual world in any time period they want (70s, 80s, etc) and relive their youth once a week. However, they can choose to “pass over” and live there forever after they die. While the technology seems out of reach to me, I think it points out a flaw in us today. We spend some much of our time in a fake, virtual world through screens that we can forget to live our real lives.
My independent reading is proving to have a similar theme so far into my reading. I am reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The setting is a pretty horrible world riddled with problems and overall misery due to overpopulation, unemployment, and energy shortages. It provides for a bleak life, but thanks to technology, people can find an oasis in a video game world called the OASIS. Imagine a super realistic virtual reality paradise; that is the OASIS. It sounds appetizing so pretty much everybody logs into the OASIS every day to play. It provides the foundation for the human population to live two identities: who they are in the flesh and who they are in the OASIS.
Ready Player One and Black Mirror are making me ask a lot of questions about how technology is playing a role in our lives right now. The big question I find myself coming back to is, “Are we flawed for the way we use technology in our lives or is the technology flawed?” Like most black and white questions, I’m sure the answer will have some gray area. However, I hope with my upcoming research and continued reading of Ready Player One I can find and articulate an answer.