Friday, February 8, 2013

(2nd) Sight #EDCMOOC

So I've watched Sight again and I find that I like it even more the second time.  It really pushes the message that a Utopian veneer can easily hide a Dystopian reality underneath.  This is such a popular theme in storytelling, both on the page and the screen.

It's a very rich story considering it is less than 8 minutes long.  There are issues of disconnection from society while being exceedingly connected to technology.  There are privacy issues.  Moral issues.  And ultimately, the protagonist is likely a sociopath.  Indeed, just as he can restart a level when he makes a mistake while chopping cucumbers, so too does he feel that a reset is in order when his date decides she doesn't want to spend any more time with him.  While we've all probably been in a situation where we would love to be able to reset a date that has gone wrong, Patrick doesn't just cross a line, he completely eliminates the line.

Whereas the Microsoft and Corning Utopian advertisements push a "better" world, reliant on their technologies, Sight is a moral tale.  It's purpose is not to glorify technology and the benefits it provides; it is quite clearly denouncing the Utopian vision.  Or at the very least, peeling back the curtain to expose what can be wrong with that vision.

Plurality is another short movie about the potential for technology that is purported to improve society actually making it worse.  We don't ever learn what the future holds but the story makes it clear that the benefits of the technologically advanced society do not outweigh the trouble those advances also bring.  I really liked both of these films.  I think I lean more towards this likelihood - that we go into it believing that we have created and adopted something that works for the greater good, but are always ultimately blindsided by something that was out of our scope and ultimately makes the whole thing less beneficial overall.  This is once again where being human comes into play - we believe in the fable of a Utopia that is within our grasp but the reality is even the best intentions will be undermined.  But it's not the technology that will do it; not on its own at least.  It's always us behind it.  That is our blind spot.  Or someone stands to gain. That is our flaw.  And the technology is always just a means.

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