Technological Determinism : Inception

Technological Determinism

Technological Determinism is a theory that asserts that the behavior, social structure and culture of a society are determined by the technology that exists in the current period.
This theory originally dates back to 1870 when R.W. Emerson said that “The Human body is the magazine of inventions, the patent-office, where are the models from which every hint was taken. All tools and engines on earth are only extensions of its limbs and senses.” Later, Marshall McLuhan added to it that every form of media or technology is an extension of a human faculty and that media is anything that amplifies or intensifies a bodily organ, sense or function. Cars are an extension of feet, books that of eye and a computer that of our brain.

Technological determinism & Inception

The movie Inception, released in 2010 and directed by Christopher Nolan, revolves around the idea of entering a person’s mind and plant, or steal from there, an idea or a thought.   The following concepts help us understand how the theory of technological determinism shapes the story of Inception.

Mental Espionage
The very concept of the movie speaks of McLuhan’s theory. What was in past a lucid dream-state telepathic connection is now a profession and Cobb & Arthur, the “extractors”, are specialists in corporate “mental espionage”. The fact that they have a machine to do that is proof to the statement that all tools are extensions of a man’s senses. Their job is one that’s made possible by a technology that generates coordinated shared dreaming and “mind reading” in literal sense is essentially an application of human mind’s functioning.

The Briefcase

Ref Scene – Cobb and Arthur trying to steal a thought from corporate bigshot Saito, in a dream within a dream (02:48).
Explanation – In this scene, we are introduced to the idea of thought theft or, Extraction. Cobb and Arthur are shown using a novel device that is attached to the extractor, his team and the victim....