Blackout. Everything is extinguished. First the roar, then everything died away. Each unique technological device in disabled. And there is no remote that can reactivate it. The same goes for smartphones, tablets and PCs. More connection, more field, graphite black screens do not react. The houses are no longer heated and in a short time the cold that hits New York in early February is making its way through the walls. Something happened, something broke. Yes but what? TO Don De Lillo it matters little to tell us. It is enough for him to plunge us into a present where technology is destroyed and humanity suddenly finds itself without certainties.
“Whatever it was, what happened knocked out ours Technology. The word itself seems obsolete to me, lost in space. “Jim and Tessa know it well. They were flying when it happened. They were coming back from Paris. Then the roar. And the emergency landing.” Where is the faith in the authority of our secure devices, our capabilities encryption, of our tweets, trolls and bots. Is everything in the given sphere subject to warping or theft? And we just have to sit here and cry for our fate? “. What can our fate be without more technology. DeLillo wonders about this in his latest book, Silence (Einaudi), a few days in bookstores. Thirty-five years ago already, with white noise (Einaudi), the American writer had investigated the impact of an unexpected disaster on the population. Then it was a spill of chemical materials, which after a massive evacuation had pushed the protagonist to face the fear of dying. Today, it went further. “We have seen similar things time and time again, in this country and elsewhere, severe storms, uncontrolled fires, evacuations, typhoons, tornadoes, drought, thick fog, unbreathable air. Landslides, tsunamis, disappearing rivers, collapsing houses, entire buildings. crumbling, sky clouded by pollution ”. Nature that rebels, in short. And the man who struggles not to succumb. “We still have the memories of virus, plague, endless lines in the terminal, masks, completely empty city streets “. eyes while we still watch, or while we sit talking?”.
How can technology collapse on itself and leave humanity to fend for itself. But above all: what are the most immediate consequences? A plane landed precipitately to escape the tragedy. The live interrupted the Super Bowl. Chaos in the streets after an embarrassing first moment of disorientation. And looting, of course. But, ultimately, what future could we expect if not only can we no longer send emails, but even refrigerators no longer do their job of storing food? What about our money, which is no longer paper but a series of figures kept in a database? “What remains to be seen, to be heard, to be felt? They ask themselves in what seems to be a “bewildering void”. “It’s always been at the limit of our perception. The power outage, the technology slowly disappearing.” It wasn’t like that before. At the end of the 19th century, for example, they did not question the possibility of the industrial age collapsing on itself. This fear began with the advent of nuclear power. Post-apocalyptic scenarios, dystopian futures and humanity all but eliminated. It is the West’s eagerness to accept progress. Today, these accounts are made with technology, starting from the assumption that – perhaps – we have gone too far. But are we really, as DeLillo defines us, “digital addicts”? Who set the action limit? Will the excess stretched elastic break or turn out to be even tougher than you think?
Albert Einstein admitted that he did not know “with what weapons World War III will be fought”, but predicted that the Fourth will be fought “with sticks and stones”. We just have to wait.
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