Recently, I saw an article on the BBC about how disastrous events could “break” the internet. While I find the idea intriguing, it also made me think about how we think of the internet and technology. We still think of shutting off the internet as if there were a large switch that needed to be flipped to turn the internet off, like the basement lights or turning the TV off. We bring all sorts of dinosaur thinking to the future. We save electronic documents on our desktop and dispose of old ones in our trash or recycling. Not that we don’t need to find a working vocabulary that is easy to use with our new technology but is that also holding us back from moving forward? As Captain Jack Sparrow says, the problem isn’t the problem but the way we are thinking of the problem. Are our thoughts holding us back?
I was interested to see there is now a museum of expired technology beyond typewriters or rotary phones to apple clam shell computers and floppy disks. The thought is that some day we might need to get some information that can only be read by this older technology. This may be a good thing but it brings to mind the blind spot in our planning and thought process. If we were to look farther back in the past we might pause at the ancient writers preoccupation on the animating force of man and the universe. What is it that makes us go, this mix of air, wind and water makes us alive. While we are still struggling with this question we do know what makes computers run yet how concerned are we about that future? What happens to all this technology past and future if we don’t have the electricity to make it run? While we should be concerned about the past and preserving it what good will it be if we don’t have the ability to re-animate it. While Dr Frankenstein had lightning we may not be so lucky. Are we neglecting supporting our future while saving our past?