The elimination of fax machines is a threat to all humanity
Article by Bertie Bertram
EDVILLE— “Nothing says The Flintstones like a fax machine,” Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said this week. In fact, he thinks fax technology is so stone-age-stupid that Queen’s Park is planning to cut the cord on all 1500 of its fax machines. But here’s another pithy quote for the minister, if I may: “Pride cometh before the fall.”
Now, I admit that I tend to be anxious about just about everything—I think it has something to do with being an environmentalist. When things are bad, I worry. When things are good, I worry they’ll go bad. There can be too much rainfall, or too little, but never just the right amount. There can be overpopulation, or underpopulation, but there can never be a moment’s peace in between. I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at.
So when I hear that government wonks are going to pull the plugs on fax machines, I immediately wonder, Have they never watched movies like The Matrix or The Day After Tomorrow or Transcendence? What are they thinking?
What they seem to be thinking is that fax transmissions are as slow as the land lines that carry them, which means there are occasional problems with backlogs and impediments to something called “office workflow.”
But there’s a reason why Keanu Reeves was always searching for a hard line, and Jake Gyllenhaal had to find an old-fashioned payphone to call Dennis Quaid, and why the trans-human Johnny Depp took over the internet before taking over the world. Digital infrastructure is fragile. How often does your Wi-Fi go down, or your battery dies, or your emails disappear, or you hear about some supposedly impregnable network—like a bank or a government ministry—getting hacked? Come on, people. There’s a reason everyone huddles around the fireplace when the hydro goes out. Hello, anyone out there?
Here’s a last thought. When the space aliens show up to colonize Earth, do you think they’ll have any trouble at all knocking out our wireless networks? A bird pooped on my antenna last summer and that knocked out the internet. No, disabling our wireless grids will be quick and easy. And while we’re trying to mount some kind of coordinated counter-offensive, do you think it might be useful to have an un-hackable way to communicate?
I have a worry.
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