By Mark Antony Rossi
The best science fiction is more than entertainment it illuminates the mind to the real possibilities of domination by scientific invention. Classic novels like “I, Robot” and “Frankenstein” are excellent examples of prescient literature calling for caution against reckless technology deployed without moral compass or ethical consequence. If Western civilization has indeed killed the concept of God, it now unconsciously seeks to fill that vacancy by vapid contraptions created in man’s most imperfect image.
No doubt that last sentence probably turned off half the reading public. So what! In a culture that worships profane music and only reads a book if a celebrity has one ghost-written, I hope you are offended. Your apathy is offensive to me. And sometimes I have to struggle in the wee hours of the morning wondering why I give a hoot about a world so bent on self-destruction. It’s because somewhere along the path of “progress” we lost our way. Fools, idiots and monsters are not born; they are manufactured by a wayward society.
Classic films such as “The Day the Earth Stood Still’ and “Them!” were homilies to a nuclear age threatening to annihilate all life on the planet. We are still in need of a message warning the general public of science practiced in the absence of ethics. But the parameters have changed drastically. Orwell in “1984” and Huxley in “Brave New World” expected the technology of eternal surveillance to be government-made and operated. None foreseen the miniaturization of machinery would empower the common man to become his own “Big Brother” through personal computers, tracking devices, camcorders, and the World Wide Web.
The enemy is no longer the stereotypical military general or power-hungry corrupt government, but rather the facelessness of multi-national corporations owing allegiance to nothing but stock and currency. The enemy is now nationless entities striking terror in the hearts of innocent people using their own technology against them. The enemy is a branch of biotechnology that adheres to no religion or ideology since its progenitors believe the power of genetics supersedes all philosophical notions. In the modern film “Gattaca” we clearly see Science attempting to solve world problems through a rationalized method of eugenics.
If we are to harness the better angels of our nature to move society in the right direction, we should curtail the habit of relying on machines to do the heavy lifting. Our neglect at the basic level of human contact got us into this global mess and only shared purpose and fair play will build the safer world we once thought achievable through silicon and steel. God and gadgets have a place at the table once humanity has learned not to abuse the power granted by those whom have gone before and shown the way through noble purpose and selfless sacrifice.
Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. http://markantonyrossi.jigsy.com