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2001: A Space Odyssey and Technology

Analyze in detail the three stages of technology presented in the novel, and conclude with your thoughts on the concept that the origin and cultivation of technology is extraterrestrial.

In Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, the idea of technological innovation is explored in great detail. Clarke presents three different stages of technological advancement, and explores the consequences of each. It becomes clear within the text, however, that Clarke is highly critical and suspicious of technological innovation, as he carefully depicts the dangers that his characters must face as a result of improved technology. Further complicating the question of technology in Clarke's novel is the notion that some of the technology is extraterrestrial in origin. Indeed, while in some instances it may seem that man has created these dangers, Clarke suggests that all of man's knowledge and thus, his technology, did in fact originate from extraterrestrial intelligence.

The first section of the novel, which features Moon-Watcher and his tribe, introduces us to a primeval world that has very little in the way of technology. Indeed, Clarke presents a scene that is actually quite bleak. He explains that, "In this barren and desiccated land, only the small or the swift or the fierce could flourish, or even hope to survive" (3). Moon-Watcher and the other members of his tribe do not possess the skills or tool necessary to provide for themselves, as their land is plagued by both drought and a shortage of food. Moon-Watcher and the other man-apes are the ancestors of present day man, and thus lack in both intelligence and problem-solving abilities. Their future, therefore, appears rather grim, as Clarke explains:

At the great age of twenty-five, he [Moon-Watcher] was still in full possession of all his faculties; if his luck continued, and he avoided accidents, disease, predators, and starvation, he might survive for...

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2001: A Space Odyssey and Technology. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:35, November 30, 2021, from