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There Will Come Soft Rains

by Ray Bradbury

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How does "There Will Come Soft Rains" expose issues still relevant in 2013?

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"There Will Come Soft Rains" is still incredibly relevant to our day, because it shows how so many of us are hopelessly in thrall to technology, how it controls us, rather than the other way round. Bradbury's no Luddite; he doesn't want to turn back the clock to some pre-technological golden era that never was. He simply wants us to recognize the very real dangers of the tail wagging the dog, as it were—of just how easily we can be controlled by the gadgets and gizmos that we created to make our lives easier.

If you've ever unthinkingly browsed the internet without specifically looking for anything, or checked your email for the millionth time in the space of a few hours, or perhaps mindlessly flicked through dozens of TV channels on your remote without knowing what it is you want to watch, then you'll understand the point that Bradbury is making. Technology exists to serve man. Yet, all too often, we become its servants. And what's particularly dangerous about this development is not just the threat to human autonomy, but the fact that technology can take on a life all of its own, which makes it all the more difficult to control. As we can see in the story, this applies to all forms of technology, whether it's state-of-the-art smart homes or nuclear bombs that have the power to bring about such devastating, cataclysmic destruction.

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One issue that "There Will Come Soft Rains" explores that has relevance today is the dependence on technology. The house in Bradbury's story is a technological marvel, filled with every possible advancement. Yet, the same technology that has made the house so breathtaking is the very same element that has destroyed modern society.  The over-reliance on technology and the implications it carries are a part of the narrative that is seen in 2013, where smartphones, social networking, and technology has done a good job of supplanting human contact.  For example, Tweets and posts on facebook have replaced letter writing.  The world in Bradbury's story is one where technology has replaced human contact, something that is increasingly evident with a dependence on technology in 2013.

In a larger sense, "There Will Come Soft Rains" displays the idea of how social advancement and destruction often work in tandem with one another.  Advances in society carry unforeseen consequences where destruction can be evident.  The setting in Bradbury's story relates to the world in 2013.  While there have been many advancements in technology and social advancement, we still find a world in which terrorism, human trafficking, and abuse still run rampant.  Social advancement and social destruction seem to go hand in hand, similar to Bradbury's story.  There is not a clear notion of progress for it is always tempered what what should not be despite advancement.  In this regard, the story is reflective of much that exists in 2013.

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