Maybe the Internet Was a Spectacularly Bad Idea

In the premiere episode of the 2004 reboot of the TV show Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons (a race of AI constructs) uses the interconnectedness of an earth-like civilization to effectively destroy it. The titular capital warship survives because its electronics are so old they’d never been connected to their “Internet.”

While present day artificial intelligence is, in my opinion at least, hardly a cause for the eye rolling alarm of the AI doomsayers, we are currently learning the core lesson of Battlestar Galactica – that interconnectivity has a huge downside.

Recent cyberattacks have interrupted the distribution of gasoline and the preparation of meat are the only tip of a hideous iceberg: the vast majority of these attacks, which come primarily from Russia, never get reported in the press.

On a recent podcast (it was either Bill Maher or Terry Gross), a guest explained that the USA might not be able to wreak retaliatory damage to Russia, because much of their tech is obsolete.

In the coming cyberwar, Russia may end up being both the Cylons AND the Battlestar Galactica.

Fictional apocalypses aside, real-life ancient history provides an even more germane object lesson. Way back in the day, people bathed, drank, and defecated in the same river.

The Internet — and by that I mean the idea of a single Web that connects everything together — is like that all-purpose river and we’re like those clueless primitives.

Despite ample and growing evidence that the so-called “Internet of Things” is dystopic rather than utopic, isn’t consumers like appear to be pursuing that goal with an intense and peculiar woodenheadedness.

Here’s a thought: maybe it would be a good idea if some parts of the economy and  indeed our civilization were sectioned off so that they weren’t so damnably vulnerable?

Yeah, I know… cybersecurity breakthroughs and best practices… You know the drill, but let’s be honest: if it were possible to program our way out of this mess, would not someone would already have managed to do it? But instead we’re devolving from bad to dire.

By worshiping at the altar of interconnectivity, we have created, and become entirely dependent upon, a fragile ecosystem that’s frighteningly easy to break.

Like the primitives who knew nothing of sanitation, and the fictional civilization the Cylons destroyed, we may be about to learn in the hardest way possible just how abysmally short-sighted we’ve been.

Anyway, it wouldn’t be an Inc. post without SOME kind of “actionable” (as it’s called) advice. Here it is: for the love of God, start moving some elements of your life offline. Disconnect whatever you can. And seriously, stockpile. You’d be crazy not to.

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