What Are Some Examples of Conflict Between Man and Technology?

Jimmy Anderson/E+/Getty Images

Conflict between man and technology is a fairly new type of literary conflict and is common in the genre of science fiction. It typically refers to the antagonist’s use of technology to take power or to situations in which technology becomes too powerful in a society. Examples include Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” and the movies “The Terminator” and “The Matrix.”

Literary conflict occurs when two characters or forces in a work of fiction have differing objectives and have to struggle against each other in order to complete their objectives. The conflict gives tension to the work and drives the plot.

The specific conflict between man and technology occurs when the protagonist of the story fights against some kind of technology that is causing some kind of harm. The conflict can involve the protagonist directly, as seen in “Fahrenheit 451” when the mechanical hounds chase Guy Montag or in “2001: A Space Odyssey” when Dave battles HAL 9000.

Conflict between man and technology can also be a more general conflict with society, as seen in “The Matrix” where Neo tries to tear down an entire system of machines or in “Brave New World” where John rejects the World State’s way of thinking.