An essay on the influences of the Information Age and other things

a personal account by
Cornelis Robat

A Long Time Ago when the hunters became gatherers and gatherers became villagers that became city dwellers that needed tools and money to pay for services they could not do by themselves the need for accounting was born.
In other words the need for counting only comes into question when societies are getting more and more complex and people differentiate into specialisms amongst them. That specialisation also is the stimulus to make means to improve on what one is doing or one wants to do things quicker, easier.
So all kind of aids were used to keep track of business or other things to remember.

People used stones, little bones, clay tablets, little ropes, textiles even shells and many other aids just to keep a record of what was needed to be remembered later.

But doing it by heart or on clay tablets or on papyrus and paper one is bound to make mistakes. Mistakes that even caused ships to run on rocks because of errors in tables. Or satellites that disappear in the black nothingness of space, a mistake costing billions of euro's.

And in time a few hundred thousand people became a million and a billion, and a billion went to several billion, we desperately needed better but foremost faster means to compute. So we invented automata, machines and later electronic devices, and who knows were it will end.

Want to read a doom scenario?

So we invented systems and that systems spread over buildings, office complexes, cities and over the entire globe. Interconnectivity, a magic word from the 1970's, plays a most important role in our needs to compute combined with speed, accuracy, and storage of data.
That is were we stand now, systems integrating with each other and seeping into our private sphere, leaving nothing unknown to prying eyes. The fear of George Orwell's book "1984" has become reality without us realising it. We start to feel like a personality is sneeking up against us and we think we can do nothing against it. We are now completely given over to the Information Age. And what is worst without our means of computing the world will flee into oblivion as we know it.

Bacause our salaries will be paid three months late, if ever. So we have little money to spent and many many people will go out of work causing the crime rate going sky high.  And again it is the survival of the fittest. Most people barely surviving under the yoke of some small dictator that uses us as cheap labor and canon fudder. We will sink back to the middleages were warlords and priests driven by superstition had the say. And of fear of opposition they will withold us any knowledge of computing and reading.

Do you want this?

But what about the positive things the Information Age can offer us

Knowledge is power, and no one can take that away. Unless they lock you up in a small cubicle for years to make you go crazy.

So we gather knowledge and we learn. We get knowledge from libaries, we are trained by computers to practice te knowledge gained. We are starting to write with people of all over the world and share knowledge again.
The information age enables us to look up many things, not all, and keeping in touch with our friends.
But it also takes care for our homes, our cars, schools, employers etcetera. Given enough time the Internet or whatever will be there in the future, will glue it all together into one electronic world.

Thinking about the things we need, do you think your TV set or getto blaster would be so cheap as it is. Most prices went up a 40-fold since 1940. Not so for goods manufactured in mass. They even became cheaper. Your phone would not ring or your modem could not function without it.

Think also that if all sorts of administration were not automated your usual waste of waiting time tripples easily.

What about it
So there are advantages and disadvantages to this Information Age. We must look at it criticaly and think to what use we can put all the gadgets and other aids we get from the information age not only to our own advantage but also for others.

We still have to learn how to cope with the invasion in our privacy, making a law is no garantee at all. Who controlls it and can it be controlled. Is it a monstruosity lurking in the dark to jump us or can we make friends with it.

We have to be on our toes each time something is knotted or better connected together and ask ourself is it usefull or just another way of government to controll us even more.

Can you protect yourself?
Yes you can. The 1000 dollar question really is: What can you do against mis use of the means of the Information Age.

First ask yourselves:

Are you feeling threatened or are you at peace with it.
If the latter is the case just let it be. If not try to find out what they know about you and correct if any mistakes are there. There are laws for that to make them to give you the information.

Or better do you just hate the idea? Well in that case you would like to knock out the system. One way to do that is to flood the system with what they want so they can not do anything anymore but to deal with the flood. Clogg up the system. Do they want a tax return form of you, well do so, but send some corrections after it, there is no law agains that. Can you inmagine what will happen at the tax buro when a few million people do that? I can, it will be a flood of paper for these petty civil servants, making our lives miserable, to wade through. Hah, hah, what a sight! Yes I dhave a vivid inmagination!

But seriously. if you don't like the system try to change it your way. Use your intelligence to get as little as possible of information on you in the system, be a gray spot. Don't be stupid and start anwsering questions to some one asking you things you don't think it is necessary to answer to get what you want.
Never answer questions by phone if you don't personally know the one at the other end, and still then....

When filling out forms don't give information voluntairily, also while speaking with some one.

it is so easy to say: I am going on holydays to the Cayman Islands. Why! He or she is most probable not interested, and someone eaves dropping could use it to burglar your home while you're gone. Thank you. So never spill out your guts unless it is absolutely required to get the service you want, and even then they have to prove it to you that your fathers name is needed to get a credit card.

So that's it. I hope you're feeling better now