Cultural Influence on Technology: How Doraemon and Black Mirror Reflect Our Views on Emerging Technologies

Cultural Influence on Technology: How Doraemon and Black Mirror Reflect Our Views on Emerging Technologies

As a child growing up in Asia, technology was ubiquitous. The latest gadgets and futuristic devices like those seen in Doraemon fascinated me. My fascination with cutting-edge technology often made me wonder when I would experience them myself. Art, on the other hand, also held a special place in my heart. It provided a creative outlet and a break from the daily grind. It’s clear to me now that the cultural context in which I grew up greatly influenced my love for technology and art. This article explores how culture shapes our relationship with technology and how it affects our views on new and emerging technologies.

My love for Doraemon – the Japanese manga

When I was growing up in Asia, I was exposed to a lot of media that showcased futuristic gadgets and advanced technologies. One of the most popular examples was the Japanese manga and anime series, Doraemon. The show was about a robotic cat from the future who traveled back in time to help a young boy named Nobita with his everyday problems using a range of high-tech gadgets. As a child, I was fascinated by Doraemon and wished I could be Nobita and have Doraemon by my side. Doraemon’s gadgets, such as the “Anywhere Door” that could transport anyone to any location instantly, and the “Takecopter” that allowed us to fly, were incredibly cool and cutting-edge. The fabric that could change things with time, making them old or young, and the bread that you could write math on and remember anything once you ate it were also amazing. Thinking about it now, it still sparks a sense of wonder about new technology without any fear. I looked forward to the future and hoped that one day I could use some of those gadgets.

The first Doraemon manga was serialized since 1969,  Today, we have a plethora of tools that are a testament to how far we have come. For instance, in the mango, Doraemon introduced fake travel cameras that can be created using Photoshop now, cleaning robots that can help you with household chores was a dream at that time, maps that can help you find your way with ease, and 3D printing machines. What’s more, many of these functions can be accessed through our smartphones, which is a true marvel of technology. It’s amazing how all this technology has been possible because of human imagination.

Cultures that embrace technology as a means of progress and those that view it with skepticism or fear

In countries such as Japan and South Korea, there is a strong emphasis on technological innovation, and these countries are among the world’s leaders in areas such as robotics, electronics, and telecommunications. In such cultures, people tend to be open and accepting of new technologies, and there is a sense that technology can improve people’s lives and create a better future.

In contrast, there are cultures that view technology with skepticism or fear. For example, some Indigenous cultures may be wary of technology due to concerns about its potential negative impacts on the environment and traditional ways of life. Additionally, some religious groups may view certain technologies, such as artificial intelligence, as a threat to human morality or as potentially leading to the creation of autonomous beings that challenge religious beliefs.

Moreover, in Western societies, there is often a mixed view of technology. On one hand, there is a recognition of the potential benefits of technology in areas such as healthcare, education, and communication. On the other hand, there are concerns about the negative impacts of technology on society, such as its potential to create job displacement or to exacerbate social inequality. During my time living in Canada for 18 years, I encountered many conspiracy theories about new technology and how it could potentially control citizens. It was quite surprising to me.

In recent years, there has been growing concern about the potential negative impacts of technology on mental health, privacy, and democracy. This has led to increased scrutiny of technology companies and their practices, particularly in the United States and Europe.

Overall, cultural attitudes towards technology can vary widely depending on a variety of factors, such as history, religion, and social norms. Understanding these attitudes is essential for successfully introducing and adopting new technologies in different cultural contexts. By considering cultural values and beliefs, designers and developers can create technologies that are better suited to the needs and preferences of different cultural groups, and thereby increase the likelihood of successful adoption and integration.

how Western media often portrays technology as a threat or something to be feared

I was always feeling surprised how western media often portrays technology as a threat or something to be feared, particularly in popular science fiction movies and TV shows. The portrayal of technology as a threat often centers around the idea of technology becoming too advanced and surpassing human control or understanding, leading to disastrous consequences.

For example, movies like “The Terminator” and “The Matrix” depict a dystopian future in which machines have become self-aware and turn on humanity, leading to widespread destruction and chaos. Similarly, TV shows like “Black Mirror” explore the negative consequences of technologies like social media, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. No wonder where the conspiracy theory and fear coming from.

The portrayal of technology as a threat in Western media is not limited to science fiction. News stories and opinion pieces often highlight the potential negative impacts of technology on society, such as its potential to exacerbate social inequality, create job displacement, and erode privacy.

One reason for this portrayal may be a general anxiety about the pace of technological change and the potential implications for society. Additionally, there may be concerns about the power of technology companies and their influence on politics and social values.

However, the portrayal of technology as a threat or something to be feared is not universal across all Western media. Many news stories and opinion pieces also highlight the potential benefits of technology, such as its ability to improve healthcare, increase access to education, and connect people across the globe.

While Western media may sometimes portray technology as a threat or something to be feared, it is important to recognize that this portrayal is not universal or definitive. It is important to take a balanced and nuanced approach to understanding the role of technology in society, weighing both its potential benefits and potential drawbacks.

how technology is often depicted in Asian media as a tool for solving problems and improving life

In contrast to Western media, technology is often depicted in Asian media as a tool for solving problems and improving life. Asian media often portrays technology as a means to achieve progress and social advancement, with a focus on the potential benefits that technology can bring.

Beside the Doraemon series created in Japan decades ago. Similarly, in South Korea, the government has promoted the concept of “smart cities”, which use advanced technologies like the Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence to improve urban living conditions. The focus is on using technology to solve urban challenges like traffic congestion, pollution, and public safety, and to enhance the quality of life for citizens.

This portrayal of technology as a tool for progress and problem-solving reflects a broader cultural value in many Asian societies of valuing education, science, and innovation. In contrast to Western societies, many Asian societies are more optimistic about the potential of technology to improve society.

However, it is important to note that this is not a universal portrayal of technology in Asian media. Like Western media, Asian media can also depict technology in a negative light, such as in the Japanese manga and anime series “Akira”, which explores the destructive consequences of advanced technology and social inequality.

We can’t deny, the portrayal of technology in Asian media reflects a cultural value of seeing technology as a tool for solving problems and improving life. This perspective highlights the potential benefits of technology and can provide inspiration for how technology can be used to tackle societal challenges in a positive way.

Should we embrace or fear about new technology

In conclusion, the role of culture in technology adoption and innovation cannot be overlooked. It shapes our perception and acceptance of new technologies, including AI. While there are valid concerns about the potential negative impacts of AI, it is important to also acknowledge the potential benefits it can bring, such as increased efficiency and improved quality of life. Instead of seeing AI as an all-encompassing threat, it is important to embrace it as a tool that can be harnessed for the betterment of society. Ultimately, the adoption and integration of new technologies should be guided by ethical considerations and a commitment to creating a future that benefits everyone.