Was the theme of dangerous technology in Fahrenheit 451 appropriate?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Technology in Fahrenheit 451 is used to control the population, and to target individuals who are not conforming to the accepted practices of the collective. Television programming is put forth and controlled by the government, which uses it to influence public opinion. The most obvious example of dangerous technology is the Mechanical Hound, which is used to root out and kill people who collect books:

The Hound half rose in its kennel and looked at him with green-blue neon light flickering in its suddenly activated eyebulbs. It growled again, a strange rasping combination of electrical sizzle, a frying sound, a scraping of metal, a turning of cogsthat seemed rusty and ancient with suspicion.
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

This use of robotic technology is in sharp contrast to the empathic novels of Isaac Asimov, who posed a world where robots could become self-aware; Bradbury's mechanical hound is entirely a tool, with only one purpose. Compared to the current use of robotic drones for military purposes, the mechanical hound is able to hunt for itself, but the similarities are still relevant. Technology, so ingrained in modern society, is used in the novel for control and oppression; in a time of censorship, Bradbury's pessimistic view of robotics as tools of an aggressive government is very appropriate.