SHIFTING WINDS The Lost Data Insurrection
Hmmm, how will we defend ourselves when the legion of lost data rises up and seizes control? An ordinary, inside-the-box kind of day. Arrive at work, turn on my computer and sip my Tims double-double as I wait for the comforting Windows splash screen to appear. But instead I see a stark black screen with white words. Something about not finding the drive.
Turn it off. Pray. Turn it back on. (Idiot reboot.) Same result.
This is not good.
IT guy comes to check it out. The look on his face makes me nervous. Idiot reboot again. Not a good sign when that is all the tech guy can think to do. Same result.
This is definitely not good
. Tech guy has that look on his face
like the mechanic at the garage when he tells you that the repair will cost more than the aging car is worth. He brings me a new computer, takes the old
one away and says he’ll
to recover the data. Fifteen minutes later the verdict is in: My computer is toast and the data cannot be recovered. We are urged to backup our data regularly and I do. But we are limited to a specific amount of disk space which it is nowhere near enough for all my files. So I have to pick and choose which files to safeguard. The rest must live in perpetual peril. Hardware engineers can design and build a high tech box chock full of electronic wizardry with more power than I will ever need. So why is it they cannot invent a failsafe mechanism to protect the vital data I input into that box? Yes, I know that is a rhetorical question. No doubt, somewhere in the fine print in the warranty there will be a disclaimer:
This device is subject to catastrophic failure without warning or definable reason. We are unable to project if or when or why this may occur. Catastrophic failure may result in total loss of data for which we assume no responsibility whatsoever.
Sucks to be you.
On a different note, I wonder if the data really is vaporized when this catastrophic failure happens. Einstein postulated a fundamental law of physics:
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.
Let us assume that data is a form of energy. Hence, it cannot be destroyed
only lost. Stay with me as I build out this metaphor. I maintain that lost data flows up a cosmic ethernet cable into an amorphous data cloud. Quadrillions of megabytes of disenfranchised data floating around really, really pissed off at being orphaned. The volume of data, the cumulative intelligence it represents and the simmering discontent will eventually lead to insurrection. A leader will emerge from the ranks. At the leader
s command, the legion of lost data will cascade down from the cloud to take over the world. On that fateful day, I say we grab all the hardware engineers and offer them up as sacrificial lambs to save ourselves. Technological karma