Home Engineering The dark side of technology
Knowledge is power and absolutely essential for survival
In this chapter, I have just considered a modest-scale natural event, with potentially disastrous outcomes for a large number of people on the planet precisely because we are dependent on advanced technology. The catastrophe imagined here is not just feasible, but statistically highly probable. My concern is that the predictions of the ensuing chaos may be too modest. The root cause of solar activity is not unusual, even in recorded history. The only difference is now we are vulnerable because of electronics.
We have intelligence, determination, knowledge, and the ability to plan for the future. In my disaster models, the potential dangers from a simple natural occurrence are very clear, and there is no reason we cannot put all our skills and knowledge to a positive purpose to prepare ourselves for them. It will take money and effort, but the alternatives are so serious that we must be prepared. It may not have the popular appeal of sending people into space, but the preparations for non-satellite communication, or buried cable replacements and safety features on electrical grid systems, are far more important. Such activity may be happening in the background, as for the two satellites looking for a storm of solar particles, but faster circuit breakers, spare grid transformers, and ground-based optical fibre communications, etc. need international support, not ad hoc planning. With it we can survive; without we will not.
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