Currie’s Corner 623, May 17, 2018
Quite a few people are still rather amazed to learn that I am a radio news person who rarely goes to the station, or even leaves home. I guess I could be described as ‘virtual’ in many ways, and I’m hugely grateful for the technology that makes it possible. But I confess there have been times recently when I have wondered if we’ve gone too far.
Earlier this month we stood by our smart devices waiting to receive the first signal from Canada’s new mobile emergency alert system. It didn’t go all that well, and we’re not sure exactly why.
The system was developed by the folks at Pelmorex who boldly proclaimed that almost anyone with a cell phone or other similar device should be able to receive immediate warnings of severe weather and other emergencies. The first tests went well in some places, but not at all in others. Ah well, that’s what testing is for.
The whole idea of this kind of technology suffered a very serious setback in Hawaii a few months ago. Their emergency system sent out a warning that enemy missiles had been launched and everybody had only a few minutes to find shelter of some kind. Oops ! Seems it was one of those infamous computer glitches or something. The needless anxiety must have been hard to measure, and the phrase ‘nightmare of technology’ seems inadequate to say the least.
When the Canadian system failed to deliver as promised, I couldn’t help wondering “Do these folks have anything to do with the Phoenix pay system?” It’s no wonder there are technophobes and Luddites out there.
The most disturbing aspect of new technology is how it divides us. Young and old are divided, as are rich and poor, educated and illiterate. We are ruled by the smartest guys in the room. We should be comforted by the fact that they’re not always right, but we can’t help worrying about where they’re going to screw up next.
I’m Roger Currie