There are parts of me that relish the idea of the colapse of the technological world as we know it. Just knocking out voice mail, for instance, brings a little smile to my face. In the beginning, you just got a little greeting and left a message, that usually went unreturned. Then, you and to push 1 if..., or 2 if..., and so on. Now, you have to push 101 if..., or 301 if... and if none of the options you need is mentioned, the system HANGS UP ON YOU.

Well, that my be a petty examle of the many bones I have to pick with the world as we know it; but for me, the whole Y2K issue has been a time to contemplate the control that technology has over my life. And something I read today scares me even more than the thought of not being able to make coffee when the power goes down.

In an article about the higher need for reliability in future chip production, the auther said something like...the increased necessity of reliability ment that a way would have to be found to automate production to eliminate human error! In other words, the cost of technology failing is too high to let humans even be involved in the processing of producing it; it must produce itself.

This gave me a creepy feeling that we now have one of two futures facing us in one year--either the computers grind the world to a halt and there's no more coffee, or they don't and we've proven that technology is REALLY God and voice mail is here to stay...only now it will be push 103,251 if....Well you get the idea.

I really don't know which future would be worse. Lynn

-- LYNN McQUEEN (LYNNMCQ@WEBTV.NET), December 15, 1998


Create your own Lynn.

Your voice mail can be turned off. You don't have to wear a beeper, etc., etc. ...

At an earlier time, on a Thread, far, far away, someone talked about keeping it simple. Seems like great advice, with or without technology.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 15, 1998.


If you haven't already, you might be interested in the following short story by E. M. Forster, "The Machine Stops".

Online at

Sometimes I think somebody up above is having a good old laugh at us, you couldn't come up with this scenario if you tried. If we don't go Infomagic or Milne (plus or minus) next year we will have been very lucky IMHO - not even thinking of the military aspects, god forbid.

If we scrape through without too much drama (snowball's chance in hell) I have no doubt that we will *not* have learned any major lessons, just a pissed off population missing their McDonalds, cellphones, teevee and lattes.

I suspect deep down in all of us there is a tiny little anarchist who would quite happily see our own technological pet peeves get obliterated by the bug (DMV anyone??? :) ). Ain't gonna happen, da bug, it don't discriminate.... It will be a wild ride I think, with consequences we haven't even thought of yet.

-- Andy (, December 15, 1998.

Lynn and Andy, please be very careful how you approach this set of feelings. I have a recurring vision/dream/nightmare of Y2K Neo- Luddites succeeding in destroying enough of the infrastructure that we won't be able to pull ourselves out of an Infomagic Devolutionary Spiral.

cr, shivering and hoping the dream won't come back

-- Chuck a night driver (, December 15, 1998.

"Create your own Lynn. "

And how are we supposed to go about that?

In the past 2 weeks, I've heated my house with a wood stove. Cold but bearable. My toaster went dead, I didn't buy a new one, instead I've used a coat hanger folded and put over the stove's element. I've made a point of not using any electric kitchen gadget for preparing and cooking my food. I use a manual potatoe masher, manual vegetable slicer etc. I didn't use to watch t.v. except for nightly news, but I've stop that altogether, reading a book or magazine instead. I'm conciously and deliberately trying to free myself of any modern convenience and electronic toys. Just so I won't suffer as bad and be used living this way when/if the time comes.

But yesterday I was shopping banks over the phone (mine now is charging me outrageous fees since the merger), and each and everyone of them gave me the "push 1 if....push 10 if..." One bank I finally got through to a live person who explained to me thier "free" checking account. It's free as long as I don't go IN the bank and use the teller's service. i.e., I have to do all my transactions through an ATM machine or via bank-by-phone system. Each time I go in the bank to cash a check or make deposits etc, I'm charged $8.

My point is, unless I go live on a deserted ilsland a la Robinson Crusoe, I can't create my world in a manner that would maintain my blood pressure at a healthy level.

Don't take me wrong Chuck, I'm all for progress. But what is progress to one person, is regress to another.

-- Chris (, December 15, 1998.

Technology will not die. The most advanced technologies - genetics, human/computer interface, high-energy weapons and flight, nanotech - are buried very deeply. Literally and figuratively. These people are prepared for a direct nuclear assault; they will survive Y2k. A topside "luddite revolution" would drive a wedge between a military technocratic elite and a ground-scratching slave-labor pool.

Zardoz has spoken.

E. Coli

-- E. Coli (, December 15, 1998.

Good grief E., you have me thinking of Wells "Time Machine". I suppose its all in whether or not you understand the machines - if you do you don't care, if you don't some of them must seem creepy or near-human.

-- Paul Davis (, December 15, 1998.

Chris, have you ever considered a small, local credit union? Ours sent us a letter to say that they were done with internal testing and y2k compliant three months ago. The only reason we use the ATM is convenience (banking and working hours/schooling hrs. coincide all too well. The VISA, used as a debit card, allows us to accumulate a credit rating, something those of us who have managed to avoid accumulating debts otherwise don't have (as we found out when we baought a house). Lynn, I hear you!

-- Maria (, December 15, 1998.

Kzyskinski laughs at you idiots. Hello! You're on a friggin computer. This is too easy.

The Chris person pretending to be a hobo. You can't make this stuff up. It's priceless. (sorry MasterCard)

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (, December 15, 1998.

Yes, and as my bride sez, I'll miss talking to all of you when the phones don't work or the Web is gone.

Tari, via cr

-- Chuck a night driver (, December 15, 1998.

Jimmy...Except for the idiot thing, I agree with you. I love my computer, I adore the warm heat blowing into the room from my electric heater...and I like the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the morning. But there was a line in an the old Harold and Maude film that said "this is all incidental, not integral". Chaulk it up to getting older maybe, but I think that there is a difference between using a tool and being used by the tool. Anyway this argument is an old one...My initial oint was simply that the y2k scare might actually be the thing that proves that technology cannot fail us or will always save us...sort of like the scare is being faced with Armagedon and technology is the anti-christ that saves us...I love irony, that's all.

-- Lynn McQueen (LYNNMCQ@WEBTV.COM), December 15, 1998.

Technology is here, it's out of the box. Just like nukes ya can't un- invent it.

Y2K will slow it down or stop it for a while, but it will be back. (1 year? 10 years? 100 years? 2000 years?) Eventually (if we don't nuke ourselves out of existence) we will either:

1) Merge with the machines, and become one new hybrid race.

2) Build them so smart and so like us that one day they will realize that we are unnecessary, and they will seek to rid themselves of us.

3) Some combination of the above.

-- Uncle Deedah (, December 15, 1998.

yo! Unk! you realize your argument is exactly what's fueling the monkeywrenchers? since they too believe that as long as the system functions at all, it'll get worse, so their response is to destroy the system...y'all might cancel each other out, you know?

Arlin who's feeling a tad cynical this evening...

-- Arlin H. Adams (, December 15, 1998.

Don't complain to me, see that Darwin fellow. It's his fault.

-- Uncle Deedah (, December 15, 1998.

Good thread here. In music terms, we're talking here about an "In The Year 2525" scenario, or "I, Robot" by the Alan Parsons Project, or even Max Headroom.

There's a perfect quote I read one time that fits all this, if I can remember it right. Something like, "The danger isn't that machines will act more like humans, but that humans will start acting more like machines."

Let's see, music again. How about "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd?

-- Kevin (, December 16, 1998.

Arlin, I really like your posts.

But I think you've misrepresented the "monkeywrenchers." A lot of them are fond of appropriate technology, but dislike planned obsolescence on a massive scale, waste, poisoned environments, accelerating species extinction, potentially catastrophic climate change, animals at the southern tip of South America going blind from cataracts due to UV exposure, forests leveled, indiginous peoples wiped out, deregulation of pesticides, herbicides, etc., etc., etc.. They love their solar-powered ditch pumps and hydoelectric systems. They object to there being no refuge from unsustainable, unplanned (tumorous) growth; there is no alternative left but to be assimilated into, and made complicit in, this orgy of destruction - so they are protesting and fighting back. If a system isn't sustainable, it is by definition destined to failure. They want a society that uses technology with restraint, and with responsibility toward the planet and future generations. I see their work as futile, but am sympathetic.


-- E. Coli (, December 16, 1998.

Well said E. That's what I want, a society that uses technology responsibly.

No matter how rational or logical this philosophy is, someone is going to label it (if it doesn't already have a label). Ludites-manque? Neo-neo-ludites? Ludatic syndrome?

-- Chris (, December 16, 1998.

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