Book Trailer The Noble Train

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are Computers our Titanic?

She was unsinkable. Technology had reached a point in 1912 that man could conquer the seas. The largest ship in the World set off for New York and never reached her destination. The Titanic went to the bottom taking 1500 souls with her. Our unsinkable creation went down like a stone against mother nature. That black berg waiting out on the dark icy seas reminded us that we were still just puny humans against the forces of the Universe. The great War started several years later and we saw the dark side of our vaunted technological prowess when millions of men perished under machine guns and high explosive shells.

And now we have another disaster. The tornado in Joplin. Our Titanic is the computer, the cellular phone, the IPAD, IPOD, IPHONE. We cannot be wired enough in our digital cocoon. We master the world with out handhelds and have apps that tell us the weather, the stars, the history of the World. What more could we want and yet with all our wired technology over 125 died in Joplin and people are still dying from storms and tornadoes. And probably ninety percent of those people had a phone or a computer just before their house or their hospital or their KMART imploded from the negative pressure of a F4 tornado. So with all our vaunted technology, we are still running for our lives.

Could it be we now live in the same bubble the people who sailed on the Titanic lived in?The bubble of the digital age exists mostly in our mind. It has little to do with the physical world. If you put a computer in a field it is essentially worthless. You can not eat the computer and once it runs dead or loses contact with a hotspot it isn't even as good as a primitive Morse code transmitter. It is just a hunk of plastic. That's what we carry with us now. Hunks of plastic with batteries. You can bet those people in Joplin running for their lives, you can bet a bunch of them clutched these hunks of plastic that didn't tell them to find shelter or what to do when a mile wide tornado is bearing down on you. Where is that app RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. Should have downloaded that one.

But the computer seems very puny against the monster force of a tornado. The computer is a human generated device for humans to communicate with. It is programmed and powered by humans. The data is provided by humans. It seems sometimes we believe God is providing us with our apps or our songs or our directions or our maps or answering that weird question about Liberace or who really is the fastest pitcher in the world. Sadly, it is not God. It is just another mortal with a plastic device. And so we are left with our super fast digital age confronting storms that destroy towns in seconds. Snuff out lives with the indifference of the Universe.

And we can relate to those people who plunged into the icy Atlantic from their elaborate ship complete with heated swimming pools and bowling alleys. The Titanic was the most advanced ship of it's time, it was their IPAD, their IPHONE, their bluetooth. And yet those people thrashed around in a cold dark sea that cared nothing for them or the fact their magnificent ship was headed for the bottom of the Atlantic. Humans live in their own world and maybe that is because the world outside could care less if we live or die. Where is the app for that one?

Rocket Man will blast off this summer


Books by William Hazelgrove