Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

THREE GRIM THOUGHTS

Old people have always prophesied disaster. Are they always wrong? Here is Grim Thought No. 1. (Hereafter GTn).  Today’s press reveals doubts about the security and possible misuse of  a database planned for The National Health Service (UK). But that is only one of many databases that asked us to enter details or deceive us into doing so. PRIVACY is becoming a meaningless concept. The time is approaching when personal security demands that – so far as possible – ONE TELLS NOBODY ANYTHING. Computer systems are also dangerous due to the principle of DIMINISHING COMPETENCE. The person who devises a system may well be clever and competent and reliable. But for the system to be widely used it has to be handed to other people who must be trained. And if the system is to have economic benefits then the people chosen to administer it must be the cheapest who can be deemed adequate. So you end up with people who are doing what they were told to do without true understanding. Errors are going to creep in.

GT No.2 I am reading a book in which alteration of electronic records by a skilled hacker is portrayed as entirely possible. That means that without reference to hard copy of proven date and time then whatever the cleverest hacker decides to be true is true. And as we become more and more reliant upon electronic data our willingness to research hard copy diminishes. So TRUTH is another meaningless concept.

GT No.3 I have received a well-produced booklet from The Council for the Preservation of Rural England. It featuresGREAT STOUR beautiful scenes from Kent (like the River Great Stour) which are threatened by development. And another book picked up by chance refers to The Fleet River in London which is almost totally built over. With more and more people wanting houses and facilities, marvellous bits of our countryside are going to disappear. It won’t stop. It won’t stop because majority rule means providing what the majority wants and people don’t want things of which they are completely unaware. The immigrant settling in Ashford does not care about The Great Stour because he has never seen it. But he knows about houses and cars and supermarkets and schools. In the long term much of our countryside is doomed.

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