Monday, July 17, 2006

The Coming Gap

When I was in college all the social studies courses covered the gaps in society. You had the economic gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”. The theory was that the gap was widening in America between the rich and poor, the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer and the middle class was disappearing. Then there was the education gap between those who are educated and those who aren’t. This battle seemed to be fought in the arena of literacy or those who could read and those who could not. We came out with Ebonics and phonetics as opposed to simple memorization of the spelling of words. We lost the joy of reading in favor of the placid watching and the gap is getting wider and wider.

Well I believe there is a coming gap in the cyber arena. I like to think that as a “cultural exegete” I have a pretty good grasp on technology. It is technology that is currently shaping our culture. At one end you have pilot-less planes flying in Iraq and controlled in the desert of Nevada. At the other you have wars being fought in the World of Warcraft with soldiers from 30 different countries at the same time joining together in one unit of level 60’s. Again, I say, I like to THINK that I have a pretty good grasp on technology, but in reality I have no idea what is happening inside my computer. I stare at the words I am typing and by some sort of voodoo my wireless keyboard translates my thoughts into words on my flat screen monitor. I see it, I know it happens, but it is all voodoo to me.

There are kids (I call anyone under 30 a kid) out there who can live inside the x’s and o’s of computer language and put them together in such a way that things happen and appear as they want. These modern day alchemists make gold appear out of straw and silicon. I just report, they do the abracadabra. I use programs and software specially designed for pagan illiterates like me so that when I want to type a letter I can turn on a twitch, click on an icon, open a picture that even looks like a file folder and a piece of paper and start writing. I can do all this without having ANY idea of the voodoo magic going on behind the screen.

THIS is a gap that is getting wider and wider. Forget the economic gap, drop the educational gap, the real issue is with the coming cyber gap. It won’t be long and the programmers and software engineers will become the new priests of modern day society. I already pray to them when my computer starts “acting up” I give my tithe to them with my monthly updates of spyware, firewalls, virus protection and paying the priests to allow me to send mail and get information from the temple of the internet. I don’t know how they do it, but I know it will stop without my month offering. It is starting to scare me ….

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