From the days of the caveman scratching on the walls to communicate to the clay tablets and bamboo reeds of the Mesopotamian age to the papyrus and quill to the steel nibs, fountain pens, Biro (the original name for ball pen) to the modern gel pens to the smartphones, tablets, and iPads with styluses… It is the Act of Handwriting that remains constant.
I believe that the Act of Handwriting will remain irreplaceable despite whatever changes futuristic technologies or robotics may bring about. For certain human activities cannot perish like Reading, Writing, Speaking and Walking. Even with the best audio-visual equipment, the modern-day Alexa cannot replace some natural skills like simple speech. The personal touch is tough to replicate. The difference here is thinking based on perspective and safety concerns.
The latest transportation modes have barely replaced human walking. The walk back home efforts of the migrant workers across India during the lockdown phases of COVID 19 is a perfect example.
Image Source: Scroll.in / PTI
The digital presence has saved our livelihood and education plans during COVID-19. The dreaded virus in the actual world will also become globally eradicated with a trusted vaccine soon. What about the many more viruses still rampant in the digital world? Have we learned our lessons from experience?
Will the digital world replace the steadfast handwriting mode?
Image Source: WWW.2SPYWARE.COM
Let me remind you all about the worldwide cyberattack by the notorious WannaCry ransomware crypto worm in 2017 that reportedly infected over 2,30,000 computers across 150 countries on the very first day! It attacked almost every hospital in the UK. The crypto worm, which mainly targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows OS, corrupted all digital records and work-flow systems in companies and hospitals. People in the UK were unable to book ambulances as it was all online. Doctors could not treat patients as they could not get the pathological reports, and could not conduct surgery as the robotics in the operation theatres did not work.
The digital world is not secure, despite advanced backup systems like the latest mirroring backup developed. Data is still vulnerable to disruptions or natural disasters like the cyclonic storm in Chennai Vardah of December 2016 that had disrupted a major international undersea digital cable. Such accidental damages could lead to a lot of helplessness in the future as well.
The year 2020 has also seen many media reports on the impending solar storms that could destroy most satellite communication systems. There is also the threat of the stealth drone aircraft which create powerful magnetic fields. These drones silently come over to the business districts of major cities and in fleeting seconds copy the gigabits-gigabytes of data from all the crucial servers, backup servers, or whatever latest storage system there is in that virtual cloud of the current day digital world. Worse, mischief mongers can program these drones to wipe out all information. Simply put, it can cripple a nation in just fleeting seconds or minutes!
The first scratchings on cave walls and many manuscripts in handwriting later on palm leaves, papyrus and paper have survived over 2,000 years. However, a wrong button pressed, even accidentally or unintentionally can destroy digital records in split seconds!
Even if what I say sounds filmy or fictional, many actual experiences validate genuine concerns. The Russian government had recently ordered lakhs of typewriters for their government offices. Why? Think deeper. To be secure from cyber-crime and digital thefts!
Our blog Saptha Beej briefly describes one of my experiences with digital data challenges in Lost & Found. Our website took over a decade in the making, as explained by my student, Karthick Kannan in Students’ Stride Teacher’s Pride.
A crucial reason for this was also the fact that one of our earlier technical staff pulled down the site after completing it! We built it up from scratch again.
A short time ago, I received a thought-provoking video on WhatsApp, by BBC IDEAS that predicts an Interesting world by 2039 where Data will be King. That all governments will rely on data as the method of control. Some countries will have followed the Scandinavian lead by choosing near-total transparency in tax returns, earning, and lifestyles to reduce data threat. Citizens increasingly fight back everywhere as Data Refuseniks. Fed up with the ill effects of social media, they could abandon the cyberspace, minimizing their electronic footprint, even going back to writing and delivering private messages by hand.
COVID 19 is a real wake up call. It has given us a reason and enough lockdown time to look back and think forward. We can holistically coexist in both the Digital and Analogue world. Avoid Over Dependence and Practice Mindful Indulgence is the message I want to leave you.
This post is just the beginning. Your Feedback is valuable, keep it coming in. Aksharabhyasam aims to explore many such challenging solutions in the upcoming seasons of the Saptha Beej. For the record, The J’s Quill Group will see a complete transformation in both visual content and user experience in the coming days. Stay Digitally Tuned & Safe.
Compiled by Aarthi R Nandakishore (Consultant Author, Editor & Curator for The J’s Quill Productions)
Please Note: The Views Expressed in this Blog Post are purely for Education Purpose and Based on Reported Events and Actual Concerns.