If improving man
proves impossible, then the logical recourse is to improve his
machines. Why bother making the human body faster and stronger
or the human mind more clever when it is easier and less time
consuming to improve all of the communications and labour saving
devices that serve man until there is literally no reason for
improvement–or to do
anything at all.
That was the idea behind
E. M. Forster's 1909 short story
The Machine Stops, which
describes a time in the distant future when technology fulfills every
need and whim of the human race and everyone lives in identical cells about the
size of a small hotel room that are stuffed to the rafters with every
conceivable device to make life easier and more pleasant.
Communication and data retrieval systems bring any person or any piece
of information from anywhere on the globe instantly. Food,
clothing, entertainment and anything else that one might desire is
obtainable at the mere press of a button. If one even drops a
glove there's no need bend over to pick it up because the floor
section will rise to return it to one's hand. The whole of
humanity does nothing all day except sit or lie about as the Machine
tends their every need.
That is, until, as you might have guessed from
the title, the Machine stops. Then everyone looks pretty silly.