Survivors Returns

Back in the Summer of ’07, I wrote this post, which (among other things) speculated about how we were getting very dependent on technology generally. And if something were to happen, which resulted in us no longer having access to technology, we’d be well and truly scuppered.

I also wrote that this was the theme of the old BBC series Survivors, which I could just about remember being broadcast back in the 70’s, so powerful was the concept and execution. The idea behind the programme, written by Terry Nation (who also wrote the original Dr Who), was that 99% of humanity is wiped out by some virus, meaning that the survivors had to start all over again.

The problem is that after a phase of scavenging from the old society, they have to carry on with what they can make themselves and that in a society where everyone ahd become a specialist, lots of the skills necessary for “civilization” had simply been lost. I mean, could you create electricity, make a lightbulb or build a basic PC from scratch? Could you even light a fire and cook a meal without modern technology?

I’d delighted to say the the good old Beeb has re-made the series (I’m guessing that they must have commissioned it about the same time as I wrote my original post). The first showing pitched in with 6.5m viewers – very respectable as all the country’s morons were busy watching “I’m a Celebrity….” at the time.

The new series sounds pretty different in terms of plotline and I assume they’ve updated all those dodgy kipper ties and flares in the original. But the main themes, such as communes vs warlords remain in tact, as well as the central concept of what life would be like in a post-apocalyptic world.

But my original point behind the post remains. With so much information on PCs and the web (exclusively in many cases), such an horrific scenario caused by a devastating computer or human virus, or even nuclear war or asteroid collision, would in many ways be worse today than 40 years ago. And it’ll be many times worse in 40 years again.

So what exactly is mankind’s backup plan? Exactly how would we recover as a dominant species, especially now that the “easy” energy sources such as coal and oil have largely been consumed? It would be like trying to leap from the bronze age straight to nuclear power and this would very likely just wipe us out.

Ho hum.

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