Comment on The Machine Stops – The Dark Side of Roots and Visions by Michelle Xu

I just got around to reading this story, and it gave me chills! I’ve pasted some quotes below that I thought were extremely poignant.

“the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression” – This pretty much sums up Joe’s comment about how we are already unable to accurately deduct emotion behind texting, and I think another real-world example of this evolution is through anonymous apps such as Yik Yak, which might provide more incentive for the consumer to be more opinionated without dealing with immediate consequences.

“To most of these questions she replied with irritation – a growing quality in that accelerated age” – I am reminded of how much easier our lives are because of technology; a particular image that comes into mind is my sister (11 years old) complaining about the speed of our home internet, when I will always remember that dial-up tone as a part of my childhood. I think it’s hard to comprehend what it means for someone born today to be automatically involved in the Internet. To them, it’s as much of a staple as food.

“The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole” – This reminds me of the concept of the networked individual taken to the extreme. It makes me uncomfortable thinking that someone thought that society could end up like this, when for so long we were social creatures relying on each others’ social cues to survive.