On Wednesday the Ottawa Citizen, among many other publications, published a story on a failed 4th of July fireworks show.
The show in San Diego was scheduled to be a 20-minute fireworks display. After a test signal was sent out to where the fireworks were mounted at 8:57 p.m., a premature ignition fired off the display in about 15 seconds.
I personally can’t imagine what that would’ve been like. After watching the video posted online of the display, I would think if I were one of the spectators, I’d be disappointed that the 20-minute display failed, but at the same time it’s something you’d likely never see again.
But the point is that it wasn’t supposed to happen and the most likely culprit is a computer error.
I’m not against technology. I’m keeping up with it easily, embracing it and loving it. Technology has come a long way and it gives us the ability to do amazing things. Growing up in a rapid-paced environment that is relying more and more on technology, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise as to how hard it is for me personally to imagine a life without technology.
That being said, I think we’ve come to a point where we need to stop relying on technology so much. We can use it, but to rely solely on technology is a mistake. We shouldn’t let it define us.
An example that comes to mind is something as simple as keeping records only online. If the computer or the system were to crash, which can happen, as technology isn’t perfect by any means, then all of those records are gone as well.
I use online banking and I trust the site is secure. I also make sure to write everything down as it comes in my chequebook so I can have a paper copy of everything.
That’s just the beginning. I don’t think we should ever have planes that can fly themselves, even if it is to war. I am totally against war. It is bloody; a lot of people suffer from it on any side and in the end nobody ever really wins. But in the instances where it happens, I don’t think we should send a computer over in the place of brave women and men. As tempting as the notion seems, computers do not feel. Based on that conclusion, it’s safe to say that decisions made by a computer are left up to logistics and numbers and as seen in countless books, movies and television shows, that never ends well.
I personally don’t want to live in a future where humans are in the backseat to computers and other technology. There are many science fiction literature, movies and television shows out there that play with the idea of such a future and none of them are good. A classic example is James Cameron’s Terminator movies. I like to think that that future isn’t ever going to happen because it’s just a movie, but technically I can’t say that for sure. I don’t know what the governments or military are doing behind closed doors - how could I?
Technology can be used as a way to make our society better, but we have to know where to draw the line in how much control we let technology have over our lives. There is always the chance of failure in technology and in humans; the San Diego fireworks show is a good example. Texting, email and social media are great tools, but it doesn’t beat talking to someone face-to-face. People are flawed, but they are people.
Sometimes we just have to know when to power down and enjoy what else the world has to offer. We just have to let our experiences define us, not the technology we use.