There’s always a show on some cable network that sports the tagline, ‘It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.’ They imagine catastrophes that could befall our planet; solar storms that fry us, meteors the size of Manhattan, world-wide tsunamis, and thermonuclear World War III are all plausible scenarios to TV docu-drama producers. And while yes, I have spent a fair bit of my own time watching such programs, the likelihood of a complete global disaster remains small.
But what scares the beejeebers out of me rather than some massive super disaster, is the failure of one small piece of the framework that keeps our society in touch with sanity. Let’s face it, at times, our hold on sanity is quite fragile. Here are five things that could make life difficult, if not impossible to handle.
1. All the stoplights in the town you live in stop functioning normally.
Remember the last time you were late for work or an appointment? There’s always that one stoplight that makes you late. Now imagine if all the stoplights were uncoordinated and seemingly running with a mind of their own. Watch how quickly traffic law descends into chaos. It’s not out of the question, either.
2. The GPS in your car stops working.
Another transportation related issue, imagine that some nation unfriendly to the United States hacks the GPS satellites we all rely on to find our way through the day. Suddenly Tom-Tom turns into Dumb-Dumb, and there are going to be a lot of people trying to remember how to read a map. (Why won’t my map talk to me?!)
3. Your car develops Herbie the Love Bug abilities and starts driving itself.
Sadly, this isn’t too far fetched. Remember when certain Toyota models started getting their accelerators stuck? Now imagine the car going completely haywire and completely out of control. Suddenly your electronically controlled high-tech vehicle isn’t so convenient.
There are consistently stories of unfriendly nations attempting to hack into US computer networks or commit acts of cybyer-war and “hacktivist” organizations (such as Anonymous) that take on various websites or organizations. With people being able to hack our systems, and people willing to do so maliciously, these systems are always potential targets.
What part of your day-to-day life would you be hard pressed to live without?