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Is the World Too Reliant on Digital Technology?

October 5, 2019

UK Today

The outage yesterday of Facebook and its associated enterprises left one section of society crowing gleefully on alternatives like Twitter, yet left others feeling as though a part of their lives had been ripped away.

Millions use social media and like everything touched by humankind, some will misuse it. That is an unfortunate aspect to human nature and has always been so. Yet there are millions more who do not use social media but are still extensive users of the internet in one way or another. From shopping to emails to banking to work – we have become almost totally reliant on digital technology – and often at the behest of government.

The disappearance of Facebook for several hours illustrates however, just how reliant we have become on the digital world for almost everything. Yet we have seen the chaos that results when the system breaks down. This includes use of credit and debit cards – there have been several instances where suddenly people find because of a fault somewhere in that system, they can’t use their cards, which can mean no food for example. And one can’t go into the bank if it’s after closing time…or if it has closed entirely as banks continue to shut branches, telling customers to ‘go online’.

Not only that but as governments continue to impose a green agenda on people, this relies on electricity, whether it is generated from wind or solar sources; and if there is a power cut, everything is cut – lights, heat and digital technology.

There is no Plan B, no back-up and even though the Facebook outage was only a few hours long, there is a salutary lesson to be learned; we are in great danger of society disintegrating very rapidly and very completely if we become totally reliant on one thing only and that thing suffers any disruption, particularly a lengthy and catastrophic one.

Airport and Airlines Today

The relaxation of rules around travel are a welcome boost to the finances of the industry, with airlines having suffered disproportionately since March 2020.

The airline industry is in Boston for this week’s International Air Travel Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting with reasons for cautious optimism about the recovery momentum – but also having received a timely reminder that the journey out of the Covid-19 crisis is unlikely to be a smooth one. Crucially for many IATA members, the recent news that the US was opening up to non-essential travellers was a huge boost going into the northern hemisphere winter season. In particular, it is difficult to overstate how important the transatlantic market is for a number of operators. Those operators now include the host of this year’s AGM gathering, JetBlue Airways, which launched flights from New York JFK to London Gatwick on 30 September, complementing the Heathrow flights it launched in August.

Also on the eve of this year’s gathering, Australia made its first, tentative steps back to allowing international travel, in a move that bodes well for other markets where the focus was previously on a zero-Covid approach to the health crisis.

Despite being under assault (and for some time prior to 2020) from the climate change lobby, the importance of air travel and the huge loss to societies the world over from damage to it, has been dramatically illustrated over the last two years. One can only hope that governments actually learn something from this and do not repeat it.

© KJM Today 2021.


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