I don’t know whether it was simply a coincidence, but shortly after Google announced its Chromebook this week, its Blogger platform went haywire. The first sign was a notice on Blogger informing users that it was in a read-only state. Then all blogs posted in the previous 24 hours disappeared. Over the next 24 hours, notices were continually posted claiming that the problem would be solved “shortly”. And all you could do was go and make yourself another cup of coffee and come back and stare at the screen. This wasn’t as critical an issue for me as it may have been for others. Although it did temporarily disrupt my earnest attempt to redefine my Canadian roots and create a platform through which the next great Canadian novel will be published. But it did make me think back to Google’s announcement of its Chromebook, which it hopes to sell both to private consumers and companies, and wonder what would have happened if a company had lost access to its whole computer infrastructure for such an extended period of time?
We live in a digital world where we depend more and more on our digital access to information in order to function. Soon we won’t be able to even read a newspaper or new book if we can’t connect to the “cloud”. On the one hand, we appear to have become slaves to the systems we have created. Do you remember Hal in the 2001 Space Odyssey? But on the other hand, we have access to more information and knowledge than ever before. And all this can be accessed through something as small and portable as a smart phone. Knowledge is power, so we could just as well claim that the systems that we have created have empowered us.
Which do you think is true? Have we become slaves to our own inventions, or have we discovered a newly found empowerment and independence? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
And - for the teachers among us - do you remember that classic excuse which has passed down through generations: “The dog ate my homework.”What if a student came up to you now and said: “Google ate my homework.” Is this really that far-fetched?