Error 3200: The World Is Not Responding

Technology is supposed to remove the human margin of error from life. It’s about certainty, and reliability; two things that we, as humans, have experienced rarely in our evolutionary journey.

It minimises the element of surprise and the necessity for terms like ‘coincidence’ –  which is essentially just a very human way of dealing with a situation that appears darn convenient and impossible to explain.

The collapse of the BlackBerry network in the very week when Apple release the cellphone software update to end all cellphone software updates was darn convenient. But it was no more of a coincidence than all the publicity surrounding Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ death from pancreatic cancer just before the launch.

Sometimes, shit just happens.

Whether you’re a BlackBerry believer or an iPhone disciple though, the chances are you’ve had the opportunity to experience life without your electronic assistant this week. How did it go? Was it a relief to be free from the endless stream of meaningless and/or demanding emails, phone calls and messages? Or was the downtime an exercise in frustration and frequent handset checking that left you realising you are way too reliant on services provided by mysterious tech gods who inhabit, among other places, an office in Slough. For me, it was the latter, sadly.

Still, it’s all over now.

Or is it? Since we’re discussing cellphones, slavery and thinking time, it’s probably worth mentioning that a documentary is being released next week that encapsulates all three quite neatly. ‘Blood In The Mobile’ examines the civil war currently taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, over control of the mines in which the minerals and metals that power our cellphones are found. Danish film maker Frank Poulsen secured entry to one of these mines and found that thousands of people, including children as young as twelve, are working constantly to chip these minerals from the rocks so we can play Angry Birds at the bus stop.

Hmm. Is that release date a coincidence too? I would imagine so. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we shouldn’t think about it.

When we get five minutes to ourselves, of course.

Image: REUTERS/Michael Kooren.

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