Society as a whole believes in progress. The industrial revolution is a clear example of the idea that technology moves society forward. There are many issues and arguments to this idea that still leave an unanswered query: Does technology help or hinder humans?Filmmaker Avi Zev Weider explores the nature of technology in his latest documentary ‘Welcome to the Machine’.
The topic of technology vs. human nature is not a new issue. At some point or another, scholars, writers, journalist and even anyone’s grandmother have had an exchange as to whether technology is a useful tool in society or a mechanism of control. Weider takes the conversation further than the anticipated ideas of gadgets and latest trends. In a world, where twitting and liking a post becomes a daily function in everyone’s life ‘Welcome to the Machine’ presents a different point of view; ultimately what it means to be human.
The film is chock-full with extraordinary interviews and exchange of ideas that create an equal forum for or against technology. In one instance, renowned author Ray Kurzweil talks about the topic as a necessity a “reprogramming of the outdated software in our bodies”. In other words, people might need technology in order to function - an idea that Weider takes to heart as he experiences the fragile balance of life and death through the premature birth of his triplets. After all, machines allowed them to continue on.
There are other equally radical and rational ideas in the narrative, from artificial intelligence to the corruption of technology to help explore how it is changing society’s perception. Even Ted Kaczynski, aka ‘Unabomber’, weighs in the discussion – which may or may not be fruitful to the audience. Eventually, Weider comes to his own conclusion – just as people in the audience might - that life and the way we live is a choice and if in fact technology is neutral or carries intent then we, as people, can turn it off anytime.
‘Welcome to the Machine’ is a mesmerizing documentary, filled with ideas and opinions that explore the idea of technology and the role it plays in everyone’s life – then, now and in the future.
‘Welcome to the Machine’ screens at the ReRun Theatre in Dumbo from 1/11 – 1/17