Gotta hate HPs

Yesterday was a day and a half; probably more like three and half considering the stress I took on.  My computer, for the 2nd straight year blew out yesterday.  Luckily the hard drive didn’t go again, but the fan is busted, so I need to wait to get some cash flow so it could be fixed.  And while this was all happening, I realized something about technology: it rules our lives.  If my hard drive had went, I would have cried for hours, told my parents, then would receive a failing grade for most of my portfolio work.  Is it my fault? 100%, because I should always be saving my work onto some sort of external hard drive or flash drive, but I’m stubborn.  But that’s not my point. My point is that this simple revelation was so powerful when I began to think about it on a deeper, more philosophical level.

Consider this: We live in a world where intangibles are the most valuable things we own.  Most of the money in circulation is digital.  Every important file, including all of your information, is digital. And almost every “paper” you turn in now is no longer made of paper.  We live in a world today where the digital word, the power of technology, and the focus on the intangible is unparalleled.  And that is really cool to think about, being that we have transformed as a society to a point where we can share any amount of money, any idea, or any language in seconds over the web.  But, this is also very, very scary to think about.  Because what happens if all the computers crash?  What happens if Wikileaks was applied on a international scale? The flow of information is amazing, but it is also has the ability to paralyze the entire world.  Because if a tsunami took out New York, or an earthquake destroyed China, or a viscous monsoon  destroyed Dubai, we would be screwed.  Our investments would be worth nothing, our lives would dramatically change, and everything we had worked for for years would be gone in seconds. And that is what is scary about technology taking such an unbelievable role in society.  Because technology is impermanent, it is non-tangible, and it can be destroyed just as easily as it could be created.  And I don’t know about you, but that really scares me.  Because I could wake up tomorrow, and the US economy could crash, which means the world economy would crash, because of the internet being hacked and destroyed by some Mensa.  When you leave things up to intangibles, up to a new “reality,” security goes out the window.   Paper is permanent.  Fire can destroy it, but countless copies can beat fire.  The internet is not permanent.  Because you can back it up to a trillion flash drives or drop box accounts, but if the internet goes, everything you worked for is gone.  Impermanence scares me, and technology is the epitome of impermanence on a global scale.

Anyway, just something I was thinking about. Call me crazy or not, I think it’s pretty interesting.  Would love comments,

-Aaron

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2 thoughts on “Gotta hate HPs

  1. While I agree that society’s reliance on digital technology is continuing to precariously increase, I philosophically disagree with your notion of unparalleled focus on the intangible. The amount of digital activity in peoples’ lives is usually excessive, but while that activity is technically intangible, it is meant to simulate material things. At least partly because of its intangible content, technology has caused people to become more materialistic than ever before. I just consider it another form of alienation, established for the sake of increased productivity. Rather than physically writing papers, people type papers digitally because it’s faster and doesn’t waste paper. (Though I doubt that all the resources used to construct our current network of technology has caused less harm to the environment than using paper for everything.) This makes me think about a future Matrix-like society that works and functions in a digital realm for the sake of preserving their physical bodies and natural resources…

    • I agree with you that digital activity is meant to stimulate material concepts, but is that not still intangible? My point here is not that we are society that is focusing on only the intangibles and impermanences of our lives, but my point is that the reliance on these intangibles really scares me. We are becoming increasingly reliant on intangibles with each year, and this extends past writing a paper for a class online, or my hard drive busting, because it now reaches governmental level. Because of our reliance on files and digitalized money transfers, we become a society that is now scarily reliant on something that can be deleted in seconds. And I understand that our government has constant monitoring of extremely important files, but if something like Wikileaks can be done, then I fear that the same type of hacking and releasing of information can done with our Treasury Department. If the only thing we have to assert the amount of money in our nation is a computer file, then what happens if someone has the intellectual and computing capability to hack into that system and transfer the money to millions of accounts throughout the world? We would have NOTHING to back our GDP rating or our monetary value on an international scale. We would be screwed. Now, is this going to happen? 99.9% sure that it will not. But, that is my point. Being that with increased reliance on intangibles for things as valuable as money, we have become a society that has nothing to back up extremely important tangibles if something were to go wrong digitally. And that reliance, I think, is a really big issue.

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