In the past couple of weeks, I've witnessed a bungled software upgrade that rendered email unusable for a day, a computer meltdown, and a denial-of-service attack that took out a social network for the better part of a week, in addition to the usual random errors, freezes, spam, phishing, and glitches that are a general part of digital life. This was topped off by a total power failure in my neighborhood last night.
I tweeted only a day or two ago--and this was before the power failure--that the current quality of our technology and our digital infrastructure makes me less than confident that we're ready to migrate our entire civilization to online platforms. 'Tis a fragile thing indeed, I reflected last night, while reading a print book by candlelight. (Yes, I was rockin' it like the nineteenth century!)
And let us not forget that one woman with a garden trowel recently took out the internet for most of Armenia and parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
I wouldn't call myself a Luddite, but let's just say I have a healthy amount of caution about Our Digital Future, and based on what I see all around me, I think that caution is warranted. I'm not throwing out my candles just yet, 'sall I'm saying.
But the power failure had one good effect on my writing: it gave me an excuse to step back and let my current work-in-progress marinate. I could have written something in longhand, but I had reached a point of frustration with it, a murky patch where I couldn't see the way forward, and the direction I thought I needed to take was resulting in scenes that were either boring or overwrought. Instead of wrestling with it again last night, as I surely would have if we'd had power, I stepped back from it. Of course, I could stepped back without a power failure. Let's see if I can remember that next time.