Pencil and paper? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here's a little gem I found while eating lunch... <:)=

All the ultra-high-speed computers that displaced hundreds of thousands of workers over the last thirty years aren't really important, these myth-promoters suggest. Everything from air traffic to railroads can be operated manually. All we need is enough people.

Hogwash, we say. Most manual-operation skills have vanished, and without computers handling the billions of calculations per second necessary to support our information-based society, efficiencies fall through the floor. Our modern economy can't be maintained with paper and pencil.

You probably already know that, but you might be surrounded by people who actually think "going back to manual" sounds reasonable. These folks have fallen for Y2K Myth #1.

-- Sysman (, April 28, 1999


No kidding, Sysman. Talk about an asinine meme: "we can barely cope with our labor costs now (why we're constantly laying the plebes off) but by God, if our systems go down, we can afford to hire and pay anywhere from 20 - 1000 people to do manually what the computer did."

Yep. Craziest meme yet.

-- Lisa (, April 28, 1999.

Are these human calculators going to be the same people who can't make change, have learned "rainforest" math and were "saved" from the drill and kill of memorizing multiplication tables?

-- Kay (, April 28, 1999.

Sysmam: agreed that "going manual" in many of the larger organizations is not really an option.

However, in *most* small businesses it would be (and is) possible. The big guys are spending the $ and (hopefully) have the brains to formulate business continuity plans so that the effects of failures can be mitigated and ameliorated.

Failures in a small business computer will most likely result in cussing and inconvenience. For the truely clueless it might result in the business going under, but if they are that clueless something other than Y2K would have probably done them in anyway.

-Keep your stick on the ice-

-- Johnny Canuck (, April 28, 1999.

The efficiencies gained are in manufacturing, communications, procurement and transportation. Most of those efficiencies have been gained by hardware improvements. I would certainly challenge the idea that efficiencies have been gained in any other area, including finance. The increased speed of financial transactions is not an efficiency increase. It has become a liability.

The 'information - based society' may be a myth. Catchy phrases may not describe reality. For example, the commonly accepted-as- reality phrase 'emerging markets' was created by one company as a marketing slight-of-hand to replace the phrase 'third-world countries.' The countries didn't change, only the phrase.

There are massive inefficiencies in the [useless] information-based society. Information not needed, wanted or used - yet continually cranked out and expanded. The IT industry has not even matured to the point of measuring it's own efficiency or contribution. The corporate IT people are not as important as they like to think they are. The industry is remarkably inefficient and common sense is a vanishing skill.

Apparantly the lesson from y2k hasn't sunk in yet. Common sense creates efficiency, not hasty dependance on technology.

-- PNG (, April 28, 1999.


I agree totally with your point of view. It is not only that we have lost the manual skills that we had a generation ago, but that we have eliminated inventory buffers and speeded everything up. Our society is like an aircraft carrier. We need a great deal of time and other resources to turn things around. If the world had faced Y2K even 5 years ago and had put new developments on hold while repairing what we already had, we might have made it. Now that is impossible.

-- Incredulous (, April 29, 1999.

This year we eliminated 2 Autocad stations, and put the draftsmen back on the 'board', doing blueprints manually (with pencil and sepia). Efficiency in the engineering dept. has increased markedly.

Give someone a computer, and they'll spend half the time screwing around on it.

-- Morgan (, April 29, 1999.

Good morning Morgan,

First, this Yahoo pager is nice. If I'm "on-line," Yahoo tells me that someone answered one of my posts here! Yes, I do have a life...

I have a long-time friend that is a P.E. He works for a small company, and is pushing Autocad at his boss big time. Whenever he walks into the boss' office, he is playing Solitaire. Duh, what is your point? <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 29, 1999.

PS - once again, I have a better thought after I hit the button! The boss is also a big time golfaholic, so he has also been cought playing Links... Toys, toys toys... <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 29, 1999.

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