About Technology and Disasters

From time to time nature shows us that we are not as almighty as we might think. Consider, for example, the recent volcanic ash clouds that plague air flights across Europe.

These two things usually don’t mix well together. Although one could argue that some disasters happen because of technology, I think usually disasters are outside of our control. But only when a big one is happening do we come to realize how dependent we are on all the shiny things that mankind has been inventing mostly in the past 100 years.

What if there were no flights across Europe for three months? What if the complex network that provides communications were to break down for a month? Could we function in such a disruptive event? And how well would we cope with it?

While the economic losses would probably be huge, I think some good could come from such an event. Without all these networks we would probably talk more with the ones around us. Like really talk.

I mean, could you imagine Socrates doing his work today? Forging wisdom into 140 characters to accommodate Twitter or having a Facebook account to keep in touch with Crito and the others.

On the same note I was talking to a friend about the prospects that we as programmers, have in the event of a really big disaster. No computers, no networks. And we still need to make a livingt? So here you go to find something to work:
– So what do you know to do?
– I’m a programmer!
– Right! Can you “program” this cow to give more milk? Or perhaps you could “program” this hammer?
– ?!

Indeed we would be in deep something :D

I guess it is uber cool to be head down in the IT field. But on the other hand we don’t have to lose sight of why we are doing this.

What do you think?

PS. Like many people who needed to travel in Europe and couldn’t, I had to cancel my session I was about to do in the Netherlands. So this is happening when I’m not working on Saturday just blogging on something other than RIA :)

4 thoughts on “About Technology and Disasters

  1. Hi,

    fun blog, in fact i already had that thought about a big EMP putting everything down, no more electricity or machines, computers, etc… (kind of Escape from L.A. with kurt russell where every electronics get fried).
    But like you i have no answer to what I’m going to do if something like that would happen.
    I’m open to ideas if you come up with one.
    I love to programm but I also think we are getting too much dependent to technology.

  2. From time to time I’m learning jewelry from my father. Also I’m trying to gain more knowledge about survival in the wild :)

    It’s very serious…

  3. Funny, I had this kind of thoughts some time ago..our job is so abstract that probably will be hopeless after a natural disaster. That’s why I’m going to the gym three times per week, as a porter I should be able to earn a living :)

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