Home • Essays • Lost Articles • Loose Ends • Collections • Computing • Projects • Widdershins • Quotations • Links • Us


I and Thou

Some folks are now using tiny USB flash-memory sticks. I see 1-gigabyte sticks out there for less then $100. 4 GB sticks will set you back $500 at this moment in time. Who doubts that the price will decline dramatically, with the memory capacity rising exponentially? We already knew about "smart business cards" with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips in them. Upscale businessmen exchange business contact information by merging them in a portable card-data hub.

These flash memory USB devices are only an inch or so long. I’ve seen work colleagues carry them around on necklaces like pendants, and use them very productively. I even see them now in watches, with a USB connector line embedded in the wristband. More recently, they’ve come out with battery-powered units to transfer files from one USB drive to another, sans computer. Just a tiny black box, smaller than a pack of cigarettes. Plug one memory stick in one side, and another memory stick in the other, and you can manage all the data transfer you want to have. With a PDA installed, you could see all that data.

Let’s half-close our eyes and imagine a future scenario. Not too awfully distant from now. You and I have a mega-terabyte flash memory device containing all relevant information about us: all our computer files, records of all our websurfing, all our consumer credit transactions. All our medical, DMV, police and legal records. A log of all our physical movements, recorded and downloaded dutifully by intelligence sensors at every streetcorner. All our cellphone calls. The history of every TV show we’ve watched, or movie we’ve seen. Every music CD we’ve ever listened to. Our entire credit history. Our medical records, drug prescriptions, lab test results. Financial holdings, debts and assets, bank accounts and transactions. All our emails, and a complete log of the time we’ve spent on our PCs. Our library card loans. The things we buy at the grocery store. Our bar tabs and concert tickets, with the liquor and shows catalogued. The gas we buy, the brand of cigarettes we smoke, the amount and type of pet food we bring home, the results of our daily blood pressure checks.

What is on those memory sticks is the ultimate, undeniable truth about us. Yours on your stick, and mine on mine.

Now let’s invent a little game, here. We’re sitting at a bar. Let’s plug both of our memory sticks into a transfer hub. How much of yourself do you dare to divulge to me? What kind of value do you wish to put on our relationship? Are you afraid or ashamed of something in your life that may repulse me? Do you assign certain things about yourself that are "none of my business"? Or do you present yourself openly and honestly for my inspection, to accept or reject as I will? Do you effect a data transfer, but withhold certain information, with some files tagged as "locked"? And wait for me to divulge more to you, before unlocking those files? What if I went ahead and streamed the entirety of my private and public life right through the hub to you, carte blanche? Do you weigh my life’s sins -- or vapidity, as the case may be -- against yours before replying? Do you then take my e-soul -- in horror, perhaps, or with the tools to potentially destroy me -- and run away? Or do you divulge yourself in kind with no questions asked, with no cross-evaluation done?

If you do accept all of me as I am, and give me all of you in return, then I am for you. And forever will be. There is nothing you can want that I will not try to help you have. You and I are bonded for life, as close as two humans can ever be, closer than blood-brothers.

But in truth, we don’t really need a memory stick to make that happen.

   Back to Essays...  

Technical Ecstasy by Black Sabbath was released in the US on September 25, 1976.  Their best.  Cover artwork by Hipgnosis.

"I felt I have not the right to want to change another if I am not open to be changed by him as far as it is legitimate." -- Martin Buber.


First-time visitors -- including you!

Free Web Counter

Free Hit Counter The Foggiest Notion The Foggiest Notion The Foggiest Notion The Foggiest Notion The Foggiest Notion


Luck Favors the Prepared Mind...

Essays • Lost Articles • Loose Ends • Collections • Computing • Projects • Widdershins • Quotations • Links • Us

Site contents Copyright 2004-2008 by Gary Cuba       Email: webmeister at thefoggiestnotion dot com