July 22 2024


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Abrams: Technology Allows A Terrifying Mess

2 min read

For J.J. Abrams, the relationship between human beings and machines is something that fascinates him.

Abrams’ newest show, Revolution, shows what happens when mankind is involuntarily disconnected from modern technology. “When the power goes out, the structure of society would shift enormously,” he said. “The people who are in control are more likely to fall by the wayside and not know how to handle anything. The have-nots will know how to live in that world and will become the most powerful.”

Right now, machines sometimes have the edge. Abrams related a story about a fax machine that malfunctioned. After repairing it, he realized man’s relationship to machines would look odd to an outsider. “For several minutes I was a slave to the machine,” he said. The machine displayed step-by-step directions for fixing it. “If an alien had come down and peeked in the window, it would have concluded, ‘Oh, this is a society in which little devices tell those bipedal creatures what to do.'”

“We are in that place right now,” said Abrams. “We are as much in response to what this thing is telling us to do as it is to us. This is a balancing act, and I’m not sure which side has more weight.

“I think the connection between the flesh and the machine is fascinating and relevant,” he said. “I don’t know what’s more relevant than that today. It’s a big part of Revolution, as well as Fringe and Person of Interest.”

Today,” said Abrams, “information is instantaneous. People know too much too soon and the whole world witnesses every moment. The more this happens, the harder it is to tell stories. It really undermines the possibility of something being curated, of someone with taste and intellect being able to help you determine a point of view.”

So the thought of a show where mankind had to get along without technology had an appeal to Abrams. “[Revolution is] an epic romantic family quest,” he said.

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6 thoughts on “Abrams: Technology Allows A Terrifying Mess

  1. It’s ironic that Abrams is one of the “haves.” Where would he be without technology? Maybe that scares him and sparks his imagination. But fantasies about the scenario is really the province of the “have-nots” who wish for an equalizer like God or aliens to deliver justice. Thinking we will be saved by an outside force is the real path to armageddon. We would more likely end up doing it to ourselves in another fashion, either by exhausting our fossil fuels before we gather the will to implement clean and viable commercial technologies that do not depend on fossil fuels, or by polluting ourselves out of existence, or nuclear insanity. In any case, it’s more likely that what we do to ourselves would not equalize according to the fantasy, but destroy the viability of all human existence.

  2. He clearly has a strong perception of the intended themes. Perhaps he could direct the people doing the day-to-day on the show to spend more time engaging those themes, and less time on the shoddy connective tissue between choppily-edited sword fights.

  3. The things I took away the most from the article were “People know too much too soon” and “The more this happens, the harder it is to tell stories.” It’s fairly well known that Abrams likes to keep his various productions–including his Trek movies–under wraps for as long as possible, but this article may have given the reason.

  4. One things that bothers me about this show – steam. wood still burns and water would still boil. I don’t understand how engineers would simply abandon everything because electricity couldn’t function. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE THIS SHOW! But the steam thing bothers me… steam locomotives could still transport people & things… in ten years, why hasn’t anyone thought of this?

  5. Poor storytelling. And a very missed opportunity to give the show a unique neo-steampunk flavor. Or perhaps a desire to present people in general or engineers in particular as stupid, narrowminded, and shortsighted.

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