Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflecting on Dead Computers

Last month we bid one of our computers at home good bye. Actually it is still sitting there. We haven’t yet figure out what to do with its body, but it is dead.

Today while driving home, I was listening to TED Talks, two in particular (see below) and it really got me thinking about our dead friend.

If you care to join me on this mind trip, please listen to these brief talks and read below after:

So after listening to these two great minds my humble one went wondering back to our computer. Was it alive? Is it dead? Did it LIVE? I am not a scientist and can’t delve into the areas that these two fine brains mastered, but on a more philosophical level, If the experience of life is a series of memories and experiences that we go through and share, what is it that lived in that box? If the existence of something can be defined by its opposite – light is defined by darkness, life by death – what do we say when something stops functioning? Something that has memory something that shared your thoughts, your exploration your pictures and your family? That witnessed your children grow and kept memories of them deep in its heart? This thing that remembered what you did yesterday and asked you if you wanted to go there again, or saved and sometime – all too humanly – lost some of your memories? If life is defined by needs or growth, what do we call this thing that told you when it was low on juice or daily asked you to update its programs and vulnerably asked you to please check if it is sick or has a virus?

When the young technician – like the young Doctor – says the hard drive is fried and that the “motherboard” is dead. That you can revive but the quality of its life will not be the same. You unplug it and the electrical impulses that made it think are silent. Will we not be there as well some day? When you take it home and place it in the corner not yet ready to say good bye to it but knowing that it will never again share your moments the way it did. Was it alive? If not, why not?

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