Study Guide

Avengers: Age of Ultron Technology and Modernization

Technology and Modernization

Tony Stark: I don’t want to hear the "man was not meant to meddle" medley. I see a suit of armor around the world.

Bruce Banner: It sounds like a cold world, Tony.

Tony Stark: I've seen colder.

Tony Stark is kind of like Icarus in this movie. If you're not familiar with Icky, he's the dude in Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun with his artificial wings. The wax melted, the feathers fell off, and he fell into the ocean. Tony's displaying the same blind faith and overconfidence in technology here. Ultron's about to hit him like a splash of cold water.

J.A.R.V.I.S.: If you would just allow me to contact Mr. Stark. Ultron: Why do you call him "sir"?

 Good question, Ultron. In J.A.R.V.I.S.'s defense, though, the dude was programmed that way. All the same, this exchange asks us to consider how we interface with technology. Typically, it's on hand, on demand, ready to do whatever we tell it to with a smile. Should we expect any different? Ultron sure does.

Ultron: I'm here to help.

Well thank you, Ultron. That is just so—wait, put the laser beams down. What are you doing? Ultron's concept of "help" is a bit different from what we've come to expect from most of our technology. He's here to help us evolve as a species, which in his cyberbrain means wiping almost all of us out. It's a horrifyingly logical response to a very complex question, though: "how do we eliminate danger and threats from human society?"

Ulysses Klaue: You're one of his. Ultron: What? I'm not. I'm not. You think I'm one of Stark's puppets, his hollow men? […] Stark is nothing! 

Ultron's really triggered by Klaue's assertion that Ultron "belongs" to Tony Stark. This is one robot who's just not having it. He violently rejects the typical dynamic of humans "owning" their technology. That just gets him so steamed up that he rips off Klaue's arm. Let's just say the guy has control issues. He can't control his anger, and he's angry at the prospect of being controlled.

The Vision: Maybe I am a monster. I don't think I'd know if I were one. I'm not what you are and not what you intended. So there may be no way to make you trust me.

Vision drops some hard truth right here. Really, he could be describing any kind of technology that gains in popularity—it can take on a life of its own. As the Facebook data-sharing scandal has demonstrated, there is a big element of trust in our interactions with technology. Whether we give it or not is really up to us.

Ultron: I have no strings, so I have fun. I'm not tied up to anyone. 

Ultron: the world's biggest Pinocchio fan. The puppet who became a real, live boy is an apt, and deliciously creepy, metaphor for a cyberbeing that's become self-aware and removed himself from the control of his "creators." True, Ultron's true intelligence arrived tucked away in Loki's scepter, but his point is made more generally in celebrating his own independence from humanity. He's free—to destroy the rest of us. In that storyline, there's also a stern warning about how much freedom we give to our own technology.

Ultron: Stark asked for a savior, and settled for a slave. 

Cold burn, J.A.R.V.I.S. Ultron's pretty bitter in this quick back and forth with the Vision, which comes after Ultron's defeat in the battle of Sokovia. Even still, he's not totally wrong about Tony's cyberbutler. He is, in a real sense, a slave to Tony's whims and desires. The catch here is whether J.A.R.V.I.S. has the emotional awareness to resent his position.

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