Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Becoming Reliant

We as a people are becoming way too reliant on technology in order to complete normal, everyday tasks. This has become so clear to me as of late, because my medieval, dinosaur of a laptop has finally kicked the proverbial microchip bucket and gone to meet it's maker (Bill Gates?). Luckily, like BP has graciously shown us repeatedly in the past few weeks, there is a back-up plan for everything. This is all being written from my nifty little Blackberry, currently my only source of contact with the electronic outside world. In fact, I just took a pause from writing this to reply to an email I received.

This whole situation got me thinking; what is the actual scenario that would arise if technology were to suddenly die on us? I'm pretty sure there are a couple different ways this could happen, allow me to enlighten you.
In order of least-most probable in my mind:

1) Technology becomes so advanced that it creates a functional mind of its own and we are unable to control it. Nanobots are going to be a main contributor to this situation.

2) Some country in the impending WWIII will create a weapon (some sort of massive EMP) that will be able to wipe out an entire nation's electronic capabilities, therefore, essentially all of it's technology. I'm sure however, that something will go wrong, creating a huge chain reaction that will end up wiping out the entire worlds technology. That is why WWIII will be won by the country with the most rocks.

3) Another Y2K...but not Y2K. This situation is actually factual, and is going to end up happening in the year 2038...hence the name "Unix 2038". This is essentially the same scenario as Y2K; clocks rolling over incorrectly and all that jazz. This is supposed to take place on January 19th, 2038, for all Unix based systems. The problem lies in the fact that all these system's clocks and timers have been run in binary since 1970. At 3:14 (am?) on this date, the binary will have completed it's cycle and start totally new...in 1970.
This can be fixed fairly easily, but I'm sure it's going to cause a huge scare, just like Y2K.
Source: http://www.techpavan.com/2009/07/08/unix-2038-problem-details-unix-millenium-bug-year-2038-problems-solutions/

4) This one is also very real. It doesn't have too much to do with technology as a whole, but with the global internet. IP addresses, those little fingerprints for your desktop, laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, Furby, Tamagotchi and whatever else connects you to the interwebz (obviously the last 2 were jokes) are individual codes, unique to each device. The scary part is...we're running out of them! It is estimated that by September of 2011, we will run out of available IP addresses, and no new devices will be able to connect to the internet.
Source: http://m.cnn.com/primary/_MpYYur-id2lWW34yd

So now you know my fears. This means that you should probably stock up on anything with an IP address, so that the slackers that know nothing about it will be left with nothing. If they didn't know about it ahead of time, they obviously didn't use their interwebz correctly anyways.
-Dr. Jones

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