Technological Determinism


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Based on Inception movie

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Technological Determinism

  1. 1. Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune Communication Theories -Prof. Ruchi Jaggi Technological Determinism Inception Submitted By: Yasmin Hussain 144 MBA 2011-2013  
  2. 2. Marshall McLuhanHerbert Marshall McLuhan, (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadianeducator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, arhetorician, and a communication theorist. McLuhans work is viewed as one of thecornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in theadvertising and television industries.McLuhans most widely known work, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man(1964), is a pioneering study in media theory. McLuhans insight was that a mediumaffects the society in which it plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium,but by the characteristics of the medium itself.McLuhan believes that the media is so realistic, that it becomes a tool that "intensifies"our senses and our bodily organs. "All media are extensions of some human faculty. For example, clothes is an extensionof the skin, wheel is an extension of the foot, and computer circuitry is an extension ofthe human central nervous system.An extension of our body and/or of our senses occurs when we extend the reach of ourembodied mind beyond our natural limited means.Technological DeterminismTechnological determinism is a reductionist theory that presumes that a societystechnology drives the development of its social structure and cultural values.Most interpretations of technological determinism share two general ideas:• the development of technology itself follows a predictable, traceable path largely beyond cultural or political influence, and• technology in turn has "effects" on societies that are inherent, rather than socially conditioned or produced because that society organizes itself to support and further develop a technology once it has been introduced.Inception
  3. 3. Our dreams are an extension of our subconscious mind. The movie Inception takesthis concept to further level by showing deeper levels of dreams, like, a dream within adream and so on. The movie is about pushing a dream within a dream, and each time itis a different person’s dream.The machine is the technology that is used to achieve this concept of shared dreamingand going to different levels of dreaming. It is a facilitator; an intermediary between thereality and the dreams to ensure the technological determinism.To come back to the real world, a kick is used. By upsetting the equilibrium of adreamer, you can wake them from a dream and return them to reality. If you’redreaming a dream within a dream, each level of the dream has to have its own kick inorder for the one on the higher level to work. Like in the movie, Arthur blew up theelevator to wake them up from the snow fortress dream so that the car hitting the watercould then wake them up. The music was also used as the kick which was an extensionfor the ears.People in their dreams are blinded by such technology and begin to lose a sense of thereal world. To differentiate dreams from reality, the totem comes into play. It is anobject constructed by someone who plans to invade a dream, whose exact weight andcomposition only they know. This totem can be used to help verify whether you’re inthe real world, or the dream world. Cobb uses a top which, when spun inside a dreamnever stops spinning. Ariadne constructs a chess piece, which she plans to use as hertotem.Then comes the concept of inception, the art of entering dreams and planting an idea insomeone’s head. Like, Cobb planted an idea in Mal’s head that their world is not real,which eventually led to her suicide.
  4. 4. This can happen at very deep level of dreaming. When they went deeper, they used themachine, music, kick and the totem repeatedly. These can be seen as further extensionsof humans.Through the power of technology, people could build up their own world in theirdreams as if they were God. For instance, Cobb and Mal build up their own dreamworld and lived there for 50 years. And the architect, Ariadne constructs all the dreamslater in the movie.Also, through this power, Cobb could be with his dead wife Mal, in his dreams as shewas a projection of his subconscious. A projection is a person created by thesubconscious mind of the subject. Projections are not real. They function like whiteblood cells and should the subject begin to realize that the dream hes in, isnt his.Projections respond violently and attempt to seek out the dreamer and destroy him. Aprojection can be seen as an extension of the subconscious mind again.Also, technology can serve as a means of overcoming death. In the movie, dying in adream was just waking up from a dream and not actually dying. Technology allowedthem to overcome death.Dreamers could stay longer in a dream and go deeper by the use of sedatives. But whenthey go deeper through sedatives; they may end up in a limbo. It’s a place where timeruns quickly and people seem to forget reality. In the starting scene of the movie, Satioand Cobb are in the limbo.ConclusionThis film has used the concept/ idea that there is a special kind of relationship betweenhumans and technology, that goes far beyond that of simply “a person” who uses “athing” for his/ her own purposes and desires. Inception, exemplified such a concept bydepicting dreams as an extension of our subconscious mind.A human utilizing a technology for his/her own purposes and desires is only but thebeginning of it all. A time comes when the technology overpowers the man.