In Daniel’s post, he discusses the impact that coding and the bug have had on Ethan and Roberta. He mentions that, had Ethan not committed suicide, Roberta would also have followed “a path of over-stimulation and withdrawal from society, leading to insanity.” He is referring to the idea that the drastically increasing role of technology in our daily lives is enough to cause psychological consequences as evidenced by Ethan’s demise.
Technology has developed so much that we can hardly do anything without it anymore. From simple transportation to communication, we are constantly dependent upon its applications to our lives. Heck, most of us would die of starvation if we weren’t able to use technology for a week. Technology is everywhere and it is only going to become more prevalent as time progresses.
Towards the end of The Bug, Roberta thinks about “every time [she] gets on a plane, or makes an electronic payment, or gets and X ray, or steps into an elevator. Code all around [her]” (344). This dependence has led to a role reversal between humans and machines, which was the leading cause of Ethan’s insanity. Rather than Ethan controlling the program with his code, the code began to control him. It ate at his logic and affected his judgment to the point that he forgot to focus on the things that truly matter in his life such as Joanna.
I found an identical theme in Morozov’s Solutionism and Its Discontents when he describes that, due to the development of new cooking mechanisms, “chefs are imagined not as autonomous virtuosi or gifted craftsmen, but as enslaved robots who should never defy the commands of their operating systems” (11). Instead of using human instructed inputs to produce a technologically generated output, technology is telling humans what to do and how to do it. In a sense, we have lost control of our own destiny because technology has stripped us of our humanity and freedom of choice(which causes psychological effects such as Ethan’s).
The image below shows an anorexic woman. Though it doesn’t seem connected to my topic, the general idea is the same. Just as technology impacted Ethan’s thoughts and actions, people suffering from anorexia allow their body image and food dictate their actions. Sorry if you find this image disturbing… I do too but it seemed like a good representation of my point.