When the infrastructure fails

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

When not if the infrastructure – the one that we have so much gotten used to and which runs (almost) everything and upon which we depend for almost everything nowadays – breaks down (irreparably) in the event of a crisis or collapse of society we will all be up the proverbial creek without a paddle unless we prepare and learn how to do without it.

electricity grid_smlBecause of our reliance, or should I better say over-reliance, on computer control of every section and sector of our vital infrastructure, from energy supply to water and everything else (almost) disruption and total breakdown of it it is not a question of if but when. Sooner or later it is going to happen and it does not just need a hostile cyber attack or an EMP blast from some sort of device. A solar flare or a solar storm of the right magnitude or the atmospheric explosion of an asteroid or such body could be enough to do it.

Depending on the extent of the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) generated and strength such an outage could be “just” restricted to a small area or it could affect an entire country, several countries, or an even much greater area.

It would, however, appear that not a single country is taking, or has been taken, adequate steps to “harden” its vulnerable critical and vital infrastructure and, to some extent, it would also appear that that is, in fact, not really possible or, at least, not an easy task at all.

Not only will our energy and water supply be affected if the outage is caused by EMP but also the telephone system including and especially cell phones, our (modern) cars and trucks, the Internet and even our PCs and other devices. Not just will the service fail; any such blast will “fry” the circuitry in our computerized cars and trucks and in our devices, whether they are on or not.

Some of those circuits literally may and will end up “fried”, including in the computers running our vital infrastructure. Distribution of food and fuel to supermarkets and forecourts also depends on computerized systems as both are ordered on an “as need” basis.

Stores, especially food stores, in general, do not have more than two days of supply and then the power goes out through an EMP strike they, even then, simply will remain closed. The doors and everything else depends on power.

It is time, high time in fact, that we rethought our use of technology and our over-reliance and over-dependence on it.

No, I am no Luddite, but leaving the control of everything almost that is necessary for our daily lives in the hands – proverbially speaking – of machines, is a recipe for disaster. Most of the infrastructure cannot even be controlled manually by human hands anymore today, unlike decades ago when there were manual overrides and people could take control of everything again (just in case). Manual controls need to be brought back into use again and we must learn to depend less on computer control and revert back to human control of things.

We have become, in all things, far too reliant and dependent on technology for everything and even the slightest failure can and will have devastating consequences. There is nothing wrong with technology per se. it is our over-reliance and over-dependence on it that is the problem. Therefore it is imperative that we got away from our reliance and dependence on it and went back to better, more reliable, ways.

© 2013