Science turns into Catastrophe
It is hard to believe that there was a time even before the Internet, seeing how it is used so frequently. As technology started to become more popular, no one considered the ramifications of identity theft. The main source of these crimes are advertising companies. Consumers still question if there is a possibility of being victimized when they input their personal data in websites. Science is an unpredictable thing, but humans have a big impact on how events will take place. In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a scientist created an animal-like-human who becomes a monster due to the scientist, his family, and other humans who interact with it. In “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a scientist ruins the life of his wife because he tries to remove an imperfection upon her face. Similarly, these works display how humans use science to create these monsters. Both science and literature show that new discoveries for the benefit of humans, such as the Internet, end up developing into a harmful catastrophes.
Science ends up becoming overpowering and taking control of its environment. Joseph Mann states, “People’s fear of becoming victims to such identity theft has made them reluctant to enter credit card numbers to make online purchases” (Mann 1). Identity theft is inducing fear into users, causing the technology to have control over the consumers’ choices. Because of this fear, people are reluctant to make online purchases.
The same claim is present in both of the literature texts. In Frankenstein, the creature declares to Frankenstein, “You are my creator, but I am your master” (Shelley 166). Although Frankenstein creates this monster, it gains in strength and power and takes control of his creator’s choices. In “The Birthmark” Hawthorne similarly states, “There is no taint of imperfection on thy spirit. Thy sensible frame, too, shall soon be all perfect” (Hawthorne 8). Aylmer believes his wife’s spirit is perfect, but not her physical aspect. This leads him to be driven by science and remove the imperfection.
These monsters, due to science, have unintentional results that lead to horrific events. Callan thus states, “A program you never wanted squats in your computer’s hard drive, sending personal information to a company” (Callan 2). The technology intended to benefit users ends up taking private information, sometimes without users’ consent. For example, the VX2 program is intended to be advertisement protection, but instead it sneaks into softwares, giving companies an entry to commit identity theft.
Furthermore, Frankenstein and “The Birthmark” also back up the previous argument. Victor Frankenstein ponders, “If I returned, it was to be sacrificed, or to see those whom I most loved die under the grasp of a dæmon whom I had myself created” (Shelley 168). Frankenstein creates a human-like being, but being viewed as a monster, he is rejected from society. Consequently, this greed and anger causes the Creature to unleash havoc onto his surroundings. Moreover, in “The Birthmark” Georgiana tells Aylmer, “Do not repent that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer… I am dying” (Hawthorne 9). Despite Aylmer using science to perfect his wife, he unintentionally causes her to die.
The scientists try to improve something with which did not need to be interfered. Due to this, Callan states, “Many companies [offer] freeware attach-on to their software willy-nilly… not knowing or caring what this software will do to its users” (Callan 3). This quote describes how companies try to improve software by adding freeware, a program which helps keep ads away from users’ browsers. These freeware programs protect you from most advertisement but not from companies taking consumers’ personal data. For this reason, the software would be better off without it.
Literature goes hand-in-hand with science to prove this claim about scientists improving something that did not need improving. By the same token, Frankenstein states, “But this discovery was so great and so overwhelming that all the steps by which I had programmed led to it were obliterate, and I beheld only the result” (Shelley 50). Victor Frankenstein believes his creation will be a great animal, even though he messes with nature and creates a horrendous creature. Comparatively, in “The Birthmark” Aylmer says, “Has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed” (Hawthorne 1). The scientist is compelled to remove the birthmark from his wife to create a perfect being; although it did not need interfering.
As shown through science and literature, scientist add and invent new creations to help mankind, but they have a chance of turning into a dangerous weapon. These unintentional results are caused by scientists interfering with matters that do not necessarily need to change. Also this overwhelming science is powerful enough to control its environment. Aylmer and Frankenstein both avoid the fault of their actions, bringing death into their lives. Although those characters do not face the same problems of identity theft, the main idea is relevant. In conclusion, “…the shape of our future will be determined by how we understand, and ultimately how we control or regulate, the threats to this freedom that we face today” (Garfinkel 4).
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