Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Caution! Wet Floor!

Techological development goes boink
Check out the scenario:
Early morning, some 2 n half years ago, I get a “Good Morning!” forward on my newly acquired cell. “Subah ho gayi maamu!” it blithely declared. In full fervor of the days of unlimited messaging, I proceeded to forward the happy message to all my dear buddies. Select forward, sent to many, name 1, press Ok, message sent, name 2, press OK, message sent, name 3, press Ok, message se…wait a minute! Not Ok! NOT OK!!! Name 3 is not a friend, it’s my lecturer!! Oh o! Please God, no! Please don’t go! Please don’t go! Blink comes on the light, “Message Sent”. All that is left for me to do is to pray, real, real hard that the lecturer in concern is not too concerned. (Well turned out he wasn’t, n no I’m NOT telling u his name!)

In the era of star wars and matrix fundas, even the communication blunders have become tech savvy. WIRED magazine has actually coined a term to describe this ominous time between hitting the ‘send’ button on your e-mail and realizing to your utter horror that you have sent it to the wrong person. It’s called the ‘onosecond’ (from the numerous ‘oh nos!’ that go up as the horrible reality hits you!). Well, sure makes sense.

It’s quite startling to think about the amount of things that can and more often than not, will go wrong, because of one wrong click. People have lost their jobs; relationships that took years to build have been ruined.

Technology is supposed to have made communications easier, quicker. But it also has made it easier to lay booby traps to catch innocent mortals who have less than a PhD in “How to Save Thyself from Being Fooled By Technology.” Take the example of my click happy roomie, who back in her school days, got this mail asking for a few personal details (stuff like ur crush n things that could be deadly if it reaches the wrong hands in school), with a promise of a horoscope. She being the gullible sort gave it all away. As she clicked ‘ok’ horoscope turned into horror scope as the message flashed across the screen, “This information has been sent to the person who sent you this link!”. Now I needn’t really explain what followed in school the next day. Well it did motivate her to take up a career in IT though!

It’s not just your meanie friends, even IT companies resort to similar dealings to keep a check on what their employees download from their free internet access at office. There are softwares to store all that you download from the net to a separate site. Those simple Ctrl A+ Ctrl C+Ctrl V that all of us use indiscriminately, caused one unfortunate Infy guy his job.

So also with the zillions of other things that we do under the illusion that we are safe in the relative anonymity and untracability of the www. But you will never know how those nasty comments that u, in a moment of devilish inspiration posted on u oh-so-funny blog, about that friend, that boos or teacher, can turn into one unholy mess if the victim of ur brilliant wit stumbles upon it. Plus once you post it in the cyber space, you really have no control over who reads it. You maybe sharing something personal with a friend, and suddenly everyone with a computer had heard about it. Suddenly ‘copyright’ seems such a redundant word.

For the terminally scatty and pathologically careless (like me, for instance), the very things that geeks love about technology are its many traps. Sometimes it can be as simple as forgetting to lock the keypad of your mobile before u put it in your pocket or bag. And then, speed dialing takes over, and lo and behold! You’ll suddenly find your balance going down the drain at drastic speed and your poor mom bellowing “Hello! Hello!” at the other end.

It’s quite ironical that for a generation that grew up on e-mails n sms, laughs heartily while watching their parents struggle with their mobiles, still fall into so many traps. We need to realize that no technology can ever be foolproof, because a. it is after all an outgrowth of the human brain, and b. lets face it, fools can really be indigenous (!).

Technology should probably come with a statutory warning, “Proceed with extreme caution, slippery ground ahead!” You can never be sure you know better. Take it from a person who, due to a childhood problem of short attention span, ahs gone through a lot of technology aided tragedies. For all who think they have seen it all, beware! Technology’s lurking around the corner!


Thanu said...


I have never had any of those yet

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moontalk said...

lucky, lucky u!but then for a person who's as organised as u're(i saw ur blog, that was proof enough!), guess it's not so much bout luck.be me, well i'm one of those kinds who can be blindly bang into things...so well!:)

Sreejith Narayanan said...

nice and relevant post.

The misuse of technology is seen 2 posts ahead of this one I guess :P

And as u said, the technology cannot be smarter than the technologist himself. the day that happens, guess we are doomed :D.. then all sci fi movies will come true, and hail the matrix :))

nice post. Guess the biggest problem is due to the fact that people rely on technology much more than they actually should. The simplese example is the auto key pad lock, which is supposedly a safety measure. I never lock the phone before putting it in my pocket, as I am sure it will lock automatically. And I have been a victim of this speed dialling a few times.

We should be more cautious, I guess.

moontalk said...

@ sreejith
yup!caution is the word!:)
hope u started lockin the keypads atleast nw..

Arun Pillai said...

Seems u'd a bad time with technology.May b coz people rely on technology more.Now tell me if we tilt our head above , are we sure that we r seein sky or a technological implementation in the form of air-fliers ,satellites ....

moontalk said...

@ arun
dont we all?depend on technology way too much nw that is...one way or the other.in fact i consider myslef less dependant than a lotta ppl...n i dont think its bad...it jus shld be treated with a bit of caution...

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ScrewDriver said...

Well .. i guess technology is a bane ... Sometimes i wonder why is there is such a fuss about all this .. The problem i guess lies in the eternal human instinct of "one-upmanship" ... "See I know all this and you dont !! "

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