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The Machine Stops

            The remarkable short novella titledThe Machine Stops? by E. Forster is an early example of apocalyptic fiction that shows humanity trapped by technology. It was written in the early 20th century. "The Machine Stops" is set in the distant future, when mankind has come to depend on a worldwide Machine for food, housing, communications and medical care. In return, humanity has abandoned the earth's surface for a life of isolation and immobility. Humanity lives in a honeycomb of rooms inside a vast subterranean machine that procures to every human need. When the inhabitants want food, the machine provides food. When they want to sleep, the machine provides a bed. When they want entertainment, the machine plays music. All needs are met through the machine. However, in his novella, E.M. Forster warns humankind that the consequences of machine worship could be the isolation of humankind, the elimination of love and the loss of human uniqueness. .
             Amazingly, almost a hundred years ago, Forster had an uncanny ability to predict exactly how technology would develop and how it would change not only our way of looking at it but more importantly how it changes our lives. In his novellhe Machine Stops?, the Machine is the ultimate technological advancement that provided all needs for humankind. Aside from the necessities such as food and clothing, the Machine provided humankind with a different way to connect with each other, a way that leads to complete isolation. People rarely leave their rooms or meet face-to-face; instead they exchange through a global web that is part of the Machine. Each cell contains a glowing blue optic plate and telephone apparatus, which carry images and sounds among individuals and groups. This boost of technology increases the accessibility to others even from far away, but diminishes the purpose of personal interactions. Forster also realizes that the quality of personal connection depends on the quantity-often inversely.

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