From the beginning of the short story, “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury, we begin to read into what is placed in a futuristic setting. The story itself is based on the futuristic setting of technology in the year 2026 where there is not a single soul available to answer to it. In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to what is a house equipped with such futuristic technology which makes it as much a smart house. But this house seems to be abandoned as is represented by the following quotes, “The morning house lay empty” & “The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness.” (Bradbury, Page 1, Paragraph 1). But although there is no one to answer to it, the house keeps on tending to its daily tasks and routines as if it was expecting someone on its side.
When reading the story, the sudden realization comes to mind that the entire city itself has no residents and not just the house alone has no one to tend to it. Further on into the story, Bradbury writes “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles” (Bradbury, Page 1, Paragraph 8). What I come to think of this is that this house and city might be abandoned because something big happened. By big, I could mean as if a large fire had taken place, or rather an incident involving nuclear weapons or bombs leading to abandonment or the deaths of its residents. That could explain the reasoning for why this city looks as abandoned as it is described in the beginning of the story.
Upon further reading into the story, we learn about the existence of a form of life in the city which is a dog! We read the lines “A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch. The front door recognized the dog voice and opened.” (Bradbury, Page 2, Paragraph 3). From this we gather that this dog may have been closely related to the owners of the house, the house wouldn’t just accept itself to anyone as it has been shutting most of life out of it for as much as we’ve read the story so far. The dog itself represents something of importance to the house. But sadly, the dog itself was injured and needed care and had died later on in the house. But the house itself had a job then, and it was to take care of the remains of the dog and had cremated the dog with the help of its robot mice.
Stories start to turn for the house as now it itself is starting to undergo its own destruction. “At ten o’clock the house began to die” (Bradbury, Page 3, Paragraph 5). Here we start to witness the house starting to fall, sounds of “Fire, fire, fire!” (Bradbury, Page 3, Paragraph 5) are yelled by the house as it begins to come ablaze by fire spreading through it. This was the beginning of the end for the house and the technology built into it.
Overall looking at the things the house has done in the story, it’s amazing how the technology is written in the future to handle the normal tasks done by individuals in our time now. Today we talk about how we would love for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Technology to be far so advanced where we won’t have to do as much as lay our finger down on a keypad to control it and here in the story is the exact same thoughts played out. The house in this story has a well thought out mind of its own which is the embodiment of what we want AI Technology to be doing in the future. In the story, it is very evident of how technology will outlast us as human life and what can happen when we no longer exist to tell it what to do. But at the same time, somewhere along the line, there is a limit to what technology can do on its own and at some point without a handler or someone to guide it, it can fail and will meet its end.