the blue screen of death

So my computer, after 3 and a half years of faithful service (barring a couple panic-inducing moments), has finally given up and shown me the infamous blue screen. Unfortunately, I’m having difficulty getting my hands on the Windows startup cds I used when I first bought the computer, meaning that I don’t know how long it will take for me to get everything up and running once again.

If feels like part of my body is missing, like an elbow or a neck–something you constantly use without realizing just how dependent you are upon it.

I worry about my songs no longer getting scrobbled on to Lastfm, I worry about fanfics updating without my knowing about it, I worry about losing photoshop and all those other silly programs I had installed. Thankfully I made a backup of all my personal stuff before my pc died.

I have a similar, weaker dependency on my mobile phone. Rather than feeling liberated on the rare occasions I leave the house alone without my phone, I feel panicky and lost. The route I walk nearly every day seems suddenly fraught with danger, and I am convinced that something will happen to me.

My phone addiction is partially due to the fact that I do not wear watches. I am one of those innately regimented people who likes knowing the time at all possible moments. But there is a greater, underlying need to stay connected with my friends.

I have written about this before, about the need to be hyperconnected, the need to fill every minute with some kind of activity like listening to music or texting.

But now I wonder what would happen if all technology were to fail. And I wonder what our relationship will be like with technology in the future. How much more dependent can we become?

In the anime Ghost in the Shell, they have an interesting way of looking at the future of technology. It’s mobile phones and laptops combined to the extreme, so every person can access the internet via a chip of some sort within their own body. Meaning you can IM friends across town wherever they may be. Also, everyone’s brain needs a firewall.

In one episode there is a psychiatric ward for those who are unable to adjust to the internet, either because they are so addicted to the internet that, given the choice, they would surf the web and ignore all other needs, or because they refuse to use the internet, and as a result are largely isolated and unable to connect with others.

I feel that these problems already exist, although to a much lesser extent. Maybe this dependency is something we should keep our eye on.


About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
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