Artifacts of our civilization: Random thoughts

My day job is like many people in a so-called professional trade: I work in a beige box of some sort. I type on a keyboard. I do stuff. My specialty is techie stuff. What I do specifically does not matter.   If I were to describe what I do, it would be a bit like an old Star Trek script. The type of storyline where the author would write a sentence and put the word TECH in place for the purpose of the dialogue.

More important, it seems at times,  than what I do for a job is secondary to what really takes up my day:  Meetings. Emails. Stand-ups. More meetings. Emails generated from said meetings. Meetings about the emails. Etc.

Behold: The modern office culture.  From Microsoft Technet.

I don’t mention the meetings and email culture to complain.

Rather, I mention it to make an observation.

More of a bemused one.

When archeologists probe the remnants of our digital culture somehow many centuries into the future, they will see the reflection of what we value in society. We worship the mighty Outlook and seem to perform ceremonies around it based on “action items.”  Crumpled prayer cards with strange numbers are printed out nearby that venerate the Way of the Sub and detail offerings made to the Outlook deity.

From Bitcoin.

Perhaps a bit far fetched.

Heck, it is far fetched.

But our debris does reflect the culture that generated it.

I look at the Chacoan culture and see beautiful potsherds from vessels that were both practical and works of art

Roman frescoes adorned bath houses where regular people gathered.

From a Roman bath in Tunisia. Not my photo.

I know there were scrolls, writings and other minutiae of day to day that aren’t far removed from my snarky Outlook observations above.

The amateur historian in me just wonders what legacy people in the future will see, commemorate, and admire centuries from now.

The sleek styling of an iPhone? The straightforward and elegant functionality of a Leatherman tool?  Morbid admiration for the nuclear weapons we have seemed to accumulate?

Or will they just look at our millions of emails and meeting requests and wonder how the society functioned at all? 🙂

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7 years ago

Mags surely you’re not suggesting that my constant moving digital figures around a spread sheet that no one looks at, is meaningless?!!

7 years ago

We’re losing history every day during this digital age.
All the letters written home by soldiers in the previous centuries used to gain insight into what the troops were feeling, along with many other hundreds of things.

All those things are now digital. Poof. Gone. No records.

Oh, and Mags, try saying “No.” to meetings when you’re really not needed at them. It’s empowering and actually lets you get some work done!

Nick Gatel
7 years ago

Outlook has this wonderful feature called, “Out of Office.” When I was working I would activate it every Sunday night and turn it off Friday afternoon. Didn’t matter if I was in my office or not. It sure changes the expectations of the working universe. I got a lot accomplished because no one was expecting me to join their petty meetings or conference calls.


7 years ago

Archeologists digging through a modern landfill found a well-preserved hotdog from 40 years ago.

Not quite the Ancestral Pueblo’s corn cobs.

What will the future people think of us indeed.

Mina Loomis
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Mags

It’s a total hoot. The archaeologists strike again.