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Professor Farnsworth: Amy, technology isn’t intrinsically good or evil; it’s how it’s used. Like the Death Ray.
Futurama, "That Darn Katz!"

In television, chiefly in shows aimed at kids, anyone getting a piece of shiny new consumer technology will do one of three things:

  • Become obsessed with it, to the exclusion of everything else;
  • Become dependent on it (and helpless when it breaks), or
  • Become insufferable about it, until someone else gets an even cooler model.

What makes this often laughable is that between the lag times in producing TV episodes (especially animated children's edutainment shows) and the lag time in writers discovering new trends and technology, the "cool new toy" is often quaintly dated.

Compare New Media Are Evil. When this technology is used by an entire society, it becomes Ludd Was Right. When this trope motivates the bad guy, they're an Evil Luddite.

Examples of New Technology Is Evil include:

Comic Books

  • Archie Comics has this as a standard plot where the characters get some new trendy tech and everything goes wrong with it with the characters' usual shticks until they ultimately reject it. If the tech in question stays around in real life for at least a decade, then it just becomes part of the background in the stories without comment. An example is the answering machine in the 1980s, which was the focus of a Veronica story which ends with her throwing it out and vowing to take all future calls personally, while now, that device is just a standard appliance all the characters have.


  • The Brave Little Toaster has a literal example: The new appliances the Master has are basically living embodiments of the less than wholesome consumer culture of the 80's. They're also aversions-the whole reason why they tried to off the protagonists is that they were the prime candidates to go to college with the Master, rather then them.
  • Santa Claus the Movie claims that mass production is the wrong way to make toys.


  • The premise of Aleksandr Mazin's Time for Change duology is that nature has finally had it with humans going into forbidden areas of science and has struck back with various natural disasters ranging from mass psychosis to giant tsunamis swallowing cities whole. The strange thing is, nobody knows what is causing these things, as the "forbidden" research that takes place at the time or right before the disaster usually has nothing to do with the actual disaster (the giant tidal wave that destroyed New York was, apparently, caused by an experiment at giving birth in space). The world governments have created the International Committee for Prevention of Illegal Scientific Research (or Aladdin, as it is known to most) to stop these disasters from occurring. They recruit military and scientific experts from all over the world and employ the best technology known to man to track down and eliminate any illegal research lab that may result in yet another disaster. Their methods are often brutal and efficient, and they eventually become strong enough to challenge even world governments like USA, the new Russian Empire, and China (they manage to take over Las Vegas in a matter of hours and cut it off from the rest of the country when one of their own is arrested for a crime he didn't commit). Strangely enough, much of the research that "nature" appears to especially hate deals with space or biotechnology, so space exploration was placed on indefinite hold. When the Chinese attempt to break the ban and launch a spacecraft to Mars, the entire nation (and any other Chinese speaker) was struck down with a form of aphasia. The main character's father even comments that it may be God punishing us from attempting to leave the place where He put us.
  • There were quite a few childrens' books that operated on the "video games rot your brain and computers will eliminate books and social interactivity" angle. This one died in the mid-nineties once it became commonplace for games to have RPG Elements (read: a lot of reading and stat-tracking) and the Internet became too big to ignore, with Usenet, AIM, Facebook, etc. making people as social as ever.
  • Kurt Vonnegut's The Euphio Question.

Live Action TV

  • The Monkees episode "Monkees vs. Machine" is all about a Jerkass toy company executive who is in favor of firing all unnecessary humans and let computers design and run most everything. Mike is seen as having a genuis level IQ for confusing the computer that interviews potential employees.
  • Early in Stargate SG 1, the Air Force creates an alien/human hybrid craft (basically by bolting human weapons and control interfaces onto an alien fighter), which promptly hijacks itself and nearly kills the pilots by virtue of simply flying into space, out of range of every other craft they have. However, the moral isn't "New Technology Is Evil" so much as it is "Playing with a Black Box is a bad idea." Many later plots in the series involve alien tech that the humans have successfully dismantled and reverse-engineered.

Real Life

  • The Metric Martyrs in UK.


  • Video replay for officials tends to be strongly resisted by many major sports, despite broadcasters having had the technology for decades. The result of this is immediate evidence for a blown call by a referee... that doesn't count for anything at all. A particularly awful example? Armando Gallaraga's perfect game that wasn't. To add insult to injury, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig refused to reverse the call for the official records.

Tabletop Games

  • Some sects of the Adeptus Mechanicus Warhammer 40000 believe this, but it's not universal.
    • It's due to their belief that everything has already been made (which it is for many things) so it's better to just look for it, rather than waste time remaking it. Of course doesn't stop a tech priest from claiming they found something they've made.
      • Standard Template Construct. QED.
    • It's more of a belief that xenos technology is evil, because a) it was made by filthy xenos creatures and b) it hasn't got the blessing of the Omnissiah.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • South Park also has three examples: when the kids become obsessed with the Okama Gamesphere to the point of destroying an Ancient Conspiracy just to recover their Gamesphere, when Kenny plays his PSP to death and ends up using his game to command the Legions of Heaven, and when Cartman starts fooling around with space-time because he can't wait until the Nintendo Wii is launched. And there was Cartman's Trapper Keeper, which took over the world and had to be stopped via Time Travel. On the other hand, the trope is definitely not played seriously.
    • There's also the time when the whole town gets hybrid cars and the resulting smug-storm nearly destroys the west coast of the US.
  • Possibly the most literal example of this trope is in Thomas the Tank Engine. Steam engines are usually portrayed as good hearted and helpful, whereas diesel engines (new in the 1950s) are painted as cruel, arrogant, and determined to see all steam engines scrapped. However, some diesels have been depicted in a kinder light and some steam engines are not entirely nice.
    • Likewise, the cutting edge appliances in the movie The Brave Little Toaster aren't very nice, to say the least.
    • Interestingly, the original book averted the trope - the new appliances weren't portrayed as any worse than the older models, and actually helped Toaster and the other old appliances.
  • In an episode of Curious George George and his friend The Doorman go camping, making extensive use of The Doorman's fancy new GPS device. When it (inevitably) breaks, The Doorman is helpless to find their way home again.