technology and the future

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Essay 3: Technology and the Future

Many arguments have been made regarding the subject of new technology. Some people welcome new technological advances. Many “dystopian” novels and films (such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Matrix) warn against new technology, and even suggest that self-aware machines will someday enslave the human race. Is this possible? Even if machines do not destroy humans, are they dangerous in other ways? For example, the animated film Wal-E depicts a future society in which humanity is so dependent on technology that we are nearly helpless. Your assignment is to write an essay of 5-7 pages (and 1,200-1,500 words) on the subject of technology. You should focus on the following question: “Is new technology harmful or beneficial to human beings, or a combination of both? Will technology help or hinder humanity’s efforts to create a better society in the future?”

Your essay must have a title, a thesis statement, and at least five paragraphs. Use prewriting techniques to generate ideas if you need to. The purpose of a persuasive essay is to convince the reader to do something (such as agree with your argument). I suggest you use the three persuasive appeals (ethos, pathos, and logos) we discussed in class to persuade the reader. You must use the following three sources in your essay: the excerpt from Sir Thomas More’s book, Utopia from our Barnet book, the novel Fahrenheit 451, and the film The Matrix. Please use these sources on your works cited page (see next page). You may also use additional sources if you wish. Here are three possible ways that you can use these sources. Each of these suggestions are optional:

  1. How does Ray Bradbury, in his novel Fahrenheit 451, argue that new technology will affect society in the future? Does he suggest this technology will have positive or negative effects, or a combination of both? Is the technology in his book helpful or harmful to its users? Do you agree or disagree with the theme or message of his novel?
  1. Analyze the argument expressed by the character Morpheus, for or against the Matrix, in the film of the same name. Does Morpheus argue that the Matrix (the computer-generated virtual reality in the film) is beneficial or harmful? What is Morpheus’s claim (conclusion or thesis?) What are his grounds (evidence or support?) What is his warrant (guarantee that his grounds support his claim?) You may use details from the film and from your own experience to support your conclusions.
  1. Analyze the argument expressed by the character Cypher, for or against the Matrix, in the film of the same name. Does Cypher argue that the Matrix (the computer-generated virtual reality in the film) is beneficial or harmful? What is Cypher’s claim (conclusion or thesis?) What are his grounds (evidence or support?) What is his warrant(guarantee that his grounds support his claim?) You may use details from the film and from your own experience to support your conclusions.
  1. Explain the argument expressed by Sir Thomas More in his book Based on your reading of the excerpt from Utopiain our Barnet book, is Moore describing a better society? Does new technology help us create such a society, or prevent us from creating such a society? You may use details from the essay and your own experience to support your conclusions.

Please see your syllabus for the final draft due date. Your final draft must be word-processed according to the MLA style rules. You may also use information from the Web site www.bedfordstmartins.com/barnetbedau (Links to an external site.) to support your conclusions. Relax and have fun with this assignment!

Below is a correctly-formatted works cited page for this assignment:

Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Simon & Schuster, 2013.

More, Sir Thomas. “From Utopia.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Tenth Edition.

Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Bedford, 2014. pp. 655-668.

Wachowski, Larry and Andy, Dir. The Matrix. Perf. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-

Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving. Warner Brothers, 1999.

Peer Review Questions:

Please answer two or more of the following questions about your partner’s draft:

TOPIC AND ARGUMENT

  • How does the first paragraph introduce both the paper’s topic and the writer’s approach or general conclusion?
  • Identify the author’s thesis statement. Consider whether or not the thesis is clear and understandable. If it is, rewrite it in the space below. If it is not, write a possible suggestion.

STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION

  • What are the main concepts explored in the paper?
  • Does each paragraph make a relevant point that is distinct from what has already been covered?

SUPPORT AND ANALYSIS

  • Where in the essay are you least convinced by the author’s argument or point? What could be done to improve this part of the essay?
  • Where in the paper is the connection to the thesis most clear? Least clear?

CLARITY / STYLE

  • If you find an awkward sentence, indicate where it is located and why it does not make sense to you.
  • What is/are the paper’s greatest strength(s)? Please explain.

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