Computers will destroy the world. They are evil, horrible pieces of equipment that will either kill you, make you kill yourself, make your friends kill you, make your microwave kill you, make your dishwasher kill you, or somehow use wifi to make your flashlight kill you. I get it. They are horrible. Thank you science fiction for showing us how we are all either plugged into the Matrix or going to be hunted down by T-1000’s at some point in the future. This was my main problem with “Press Enter.” It was a good story, for the most part. I enjoy a good murder-mystery. But why are machines always evil and wish to do us harm or are the tools of people who are evil and want to do us harm?
There is always this idea that new technology is evil, and somehow, humanity will build something that is remorseless and will kill us or subjugate us. It is the main plot of countless science fiction books, television shows and movies. The only theme that is more common is that of space aliens, and even then there is usually some form of technology that is “random” and chaotic and one that is an “elegant weapon, for a more civilized age” (Star Wars, Episode IV). Computers and technology are only as good as we can program them to be. Lisa Foo herself pointed out the gaping plot hole in all of these science fiction stories. When asked by Victor if computers would ever take over the world, she responds with: why should they care? It’s a good question, and raises some other good questions. In every one of these stories, the artificial intelligence that rises up against the humans is incredibly smart and well-motivated in its goals. What if the computer isn’t, really, all that smart? What if it doesn’t care about taking over? Lisa said that computers were essentially stupid, and that they needed to be used as tools if anything harmful was going to be done by them. This is a more understandable idea, but even then, it’s not like there would be no resistance to an uprising. But if every single person that can use magic and wields an “elegant weapon” can be killed by chaotic, random weapons, then your civilization was probably doomed from the start.
The idea of technology destroying us is not a new one. The generation of stone-axe users probably was mighty upset when their children discovered bronze, and probably though it would destroy the world. But it didn’t. People have been suspicious of technology for forever, and it has yet to destroy us, despite what the 1950’s and McCarthyism would have led you to believe. Technology probably won’t be our eternal saviors, as some people like to think, but it won’ be the doom of us all, either. It’s just a tool to be used, for good or for bad.