Technology has advanced tremendously in the past fifteen years. These advancements and their usage have changed everyone’s lives. People’s dependency on them, however, has been debatable for some time, which is evident in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Some people may believe that Bradbury’s futuristic fantasy world will become a reality. I, however, disagree. Given the use of technology today, I feel Bradbury’s idea of a futuristic world was over exaggerated. Just by looking around a classroom, one can see how many books are still being used in education currently. Today, our school differs greatly from the school in Fahrenheit 451. “An hour of TV class,” Clarisse says to Montag while describing the school that she attends. Obviously that does not exist today and it seems unlikely that this will change in ten years, as Bradbury predicted.
Today, television does not play a major role in education, but it plays a tremendous part in recreation. The difference between our world and Bradbury’s world, however, is that our society still keeps books in circulation. And although many people feel that the continual advancements in technology will decrease society’s need for books and reading, it is clear that this isn’t true, as current technological advancements, such as the e-book, have actually encouraged more people to read. The two things necessary to change society are people’s interest, or convenience, and marketing. E-books make it convenient to quickly buy a book, and by marketing e-readers and tablets such as the Kindle and the iPad, people have the chance to explore a whole library of books at their fingertips. Similarly, web browsers such as Google and Yahoo are causing the reverse effect than Bradbury predicted. They do not dampen learning; they enhance it, as it encourages people to learn and find answers because of its simplicity and convenience. In fact, the use of the Internet, which has led to ideas such as computer gaming and social networking, requires engagement and enhances communication, unlike television. Because of this, Internet and video games today are used more than television. According to Internet World Stats, Facebook had 937.4 million users in 2012. Social networking and videogames are slowly taking over the television industry. In fact, even the movie industry isn’t doing as well. 2012’s high grossing film The Avengers grossed about $620 million in the U.S. while the highest grossing video game of 2012, CoD Black Ops II, made $1 billion in fifteen days! But lack of books and television isn’t the only component that made Bradbury’s futuristic world the way it was. Without TV, people today do not behave like Mrs. Montag’s friends, as Bradbury describes, “women who were burning with tension” and “any moment they might hiss a long sputtering hiss and explode.” And it is unlikely that people will behave like this in ten years. Bradbury also mentioned that the speed of how we complete tasks has also changed. Faber tells Montag “Off hours, yes. But time to think?” when Montag points out that they have a lot of free time in their lives. Captain Beatty tells Montag how things have changed over history. “Speed up the film, Montag, quick. One column, two sentences, a headline!” Fast cars and quicker tasks allow for more leftover time. In that case, they would have plenty of time to finish the day’s work and reflect on the day. Despite the fact that people are becoming more dependent on technology, learning and communicating still is highly important to society.
With society’s thirst for knowledge and social interaction, it does not seem likely that our lives will be filled with mindless TV watching any time soon. This clearly sums up why Bradbury’s futuristic world was too far fetched, especially for the year 2022.
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Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. 27+. Print.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Sales Reach $1 Billion in 15 Days." Joystiq. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. <http://www.joystiq.com/2012/12/05/call-of-duty-black-ops-2-1-billion/>.
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