Created By: adverbabulations on June 25, 2012 Last Edited By: adverbabulations on January 19, 2014

Tech Overreliance

Reliance on technology to the extent that they can't work without it

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First YKTTW proposal, ladies and gents, feel free to tear it to shreds.


A group (usually an entire society) that has extremely advanced machinery either continually on hand or built into their own body. The drawback being that when their technology is removed, they're not Brought Down to Normal, but actually become cripplingly physically weak. Like Addictive Magic or Phlebotinum Dependence, only with the phlebotinum specifically serving the purpose of muscles and solid bones, and rather than requiring 'doses' to stay alive, they just need to keep their suit active in order to exert more force than a sickly child. Example being the entire human population of Wall-E, who were bound to hover chairs. The story even went in to how the artificial gravity of their ship had caused their skeleton to atrophy so they were pretty much fat, boneless blobs that could only flail around on the ground if deprived of their chair. (Heroic Willpower on the part of the captain notwithstanding)

Examples

Video Games
  • Sligs in Oddworld, in their 'organic' form, are weak bipedal creatures that can do little except crawl along the ground on their arms. When the Sligs allied with the Glukkons, the Sligs were given access to cybernetic technology called 'sligpants' which not only increases their mobility vastly, but frees their arms for use handling heavy weaponry, allowing them to work for the Glukkons as security guards and hired thugs.

Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who has the Daleks, which at first appear to be completely mechanical, but actually inside their tank-like casing, their real body is a squid-like creature.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • June 25, 2012
    Bisected8
    The name might need some work.

    How is this trope related to the following; Terminally Dependent Society, Phlebotinum Dependence, Phlebotinum Muncher.

    You also might want to read this, if you haven't already; YKTTW Guidelines.
  • June 25, 2012
    Astaroth
    Sligs in Oddworld, in their 'organic' form, are weak bipedal creatures that can do little except crawl along the ground on their arms. When the Sligs allied with the Glukkons, the Sligs were given access to cybernetic technology called 'sligpants' which not only increases their mobility vastly, but frees their arms for use handling heavy weaponry, allowing them to work for the Glukkons as security guards and hired thugs.
  • June 25, 2012
    adverbabulations
    Yeah, name was the best thing I could think of off the top of my head, anyone who wants to put out better title ideas feel free.

    I looked at Phlebotinum Dependence and Terminally Dependent Society- the main thing I took away from them was the drug aspect. They HAVE to have it on a regular basis, in 'doses', or they die. This isn't a matter of 'doses', it's that they rely on some external force to strengthen them, but they've relied on it so much that their body can't function without it. It's more of a crutch than a drug. They can LIVE without it, they just can't, say, walk without it, or climb trees. Like Astaroth's example with the Sligs.
  • June 25, 2012
    Earnest
  • June 26, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • June 26, 2012
    LeeKalba
    Or like the Daleks? Without their personal tanks, they are just little squid monsters, that I imagine would slide across the ground, pathetically.
  • July 1, 2012
    adverbabulations
    Yes, exactly like the Daleks. Suited up, terror of the galaxy. Unshelled, though, their physical capabilities are completely shot, but they're still alive.

    The key difference is that the person can live without the machinery, but not walk. Not sure if this is too specific. Possible alternate titles: Cybernetics Eat Your Body, Mechanical Dependence. Let me know what you think about those.

    Man In The Machine is again looking at life support specifically, and Cybernetics Eat Your Soul is discussing morality/loss of self rather than loss of physical ability. Those are case-by-case things, this is more a thought of 'society gets used to relying on machines because said machines are better/faster/stronger, but as a result the physical body atrophies'.
  • July 3, 2012
    ElCheViva
    Darth Vader of Star Wars is an individual rather than a group, but without his suit, his horribly scarred and damaged body can't survive.
  • July 4, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^Sounds like we should mention Iron Man too, then.
  • July 4, 2012
    surgoshan
    Every time I see this, I keep thinking of people like Vader, who are cripples using technology to make them normal. It sounds more like people who have become dependent on technology for daily life. Perhaps Crippled By Tech or somesuch.
  • July 4, 2012
    aurora369
    Combine Advisors from the Half Life universe are fat, pathetic looking slug/maggot like aliens. Without their technology and a lot of races enslaved with said technology, they would utterly fail as conquerors of many dimensions.
  • July 4, 2012
    katiek
    Let's please not use the word "cripple". It has not been considered an appropriate word for about 40 years.
  • July 4, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Box from Alpha Flight is Roger Bochs: he has no legs, but he transferrs his concience into a robot.
  • July 4, 2012
    Bisected8
    Name ideas; Fantastic Wheelchair (since this trope is about devices which enable mobility), Brought Below Normal (although that focuses on what happens without their gear), Gear Dependence.
  • July 7, 2012
    MetaFour
    • Gunnerkrigg Court. Ysengrin has control over the trees of Gillitie, and he uses them to make living Power Armor. Underneath the armor, his muscles have deteriorated and he can barely move on his own. It's unclear whether this just the natural effect of him relying on the armor too much, or whether the magic is supernaturally draining him.
  • July 7, 2012
    JoeG
    The short story "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Foster is about a society of people that are so dependent on machines that everyone dies when the titular machine fails. Published in 1910, this is the Trope Maker.
  • July 7, 2012
    JonnyB
    In an early Star Trek The Next Generation story, a race called the Binars all come close to death when the EMP pulse from a nearby exploding star destroys their world's central computer, which they had all become dependent on.
  • July 17, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    According to This Essay, cooking food was an indispensible part of gaining enough nutrition to evolve modern humans' large brains. That modern proponents of eating all raw food can barely stay healthy, even with every advantage of civilization.
  • July 17, 2012
    JonnyB
    One of Doctor Steel's beliefs was that we would continue to become more and more dependent upon technology, until the day that when the machine species took over, we would be utterly powerless to resist.
    "This is the part of the story where Neo wakes up and helps destroy the machines for the good of humanity, right? Wrong.
    "There will be no great robot war. No Terminator style battle of the machines against humanity. Humanity will go willingly. The machines are making our lives easier. It is, in fact, mankind's laziness that will be the catalyst to a new era devoid of man."
  • July 17, 2012
    dalek955
    • In Spy Kids, the OSS is so dependent on their gadgets on that they consider opening a drawer by hand to be an ordeal.
  • July 18, 2012
    JonnyB
    Humanity in WALL-E has descended to this.
  • January 18, 2014
    Koveras
  • January 19, 2014
    DAN004
    Tech Overreliance would refer to something else (namely one who cannot live in a technologically-stunted civilization)

    So I'd up either Cybernetic Atrophy or Gear Overdependence.
  • January 19, 2014
    StarSword
    May result in a Dark Lord On Life Support.
  • January 19, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • The premise of Revolution is that current human society is already in this state. When electricity stops working, society collapses.
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