Tao 5.02 - Tech Graveyard

“This is the Tech Graveyard from circa 21st century,” said the museum curator. “This is where yesterday’s tech giants went to die. This one here is Apple, followed closely by Microsoft, and that one with the big question mark on it, is Google. Don’t miss the blue-themed Facebook, it was a giant in its time too.”

“Wow! That is only five hundred years back! What happened in 21st century?” asked the Tao. “Why are they dead so?”

“It is a common human folly,” said the curator. “Grand thoughts, but paucity of wisdom. Take Apple for instance: it was a victim of its own success. After some stupendous early wins, their later generation iPhones began to get bigger and bigger, and by iPhone12, people found it impossible to carry the 12-inch monstrosity around in their pockets. Their iBody, iMind, and, finally, iAm were way ahead of their times, and lacked the critical mass of early adopters that they needed to succeed. A grand tech company, if there ever was one, but dead, now, like all these others.”

“And Microsoft? What happened to it?” asked the Tao.

“Ah! Microsoft!” chuckled the curator. “That one has a checkered history. To its credit, it brought computing to the masses, and invented the Blue Screen of Death. It had quite a few successful years selling poor quality software under the brand name Windows. That name, in retrospect, was appropriate, since its unwittingly open architecture let in a plethora of things through, most notably, viruses. Microsoft, while a colossus in the tech industry of the 21st century, was a victim of its own failure. Rest in peace.”

“Tell me about Google,” said the Tao. “I love the sound of that name.”

“Another grand tech company, this Google,” said the curator. “It had answers to all the questions that people could ever ask. Hugely successful, but with an attitude, known for hiring Ph.D.s who were too nerdy and shy to even talk to their own mothers. How did it die? In a rather curious way. Late in the 21st century, because of some hundred years of information revolution, with minds saturated with mindless entertainment and Facebook selfies, people stopped asking questions; there was no need for any answers any more. Almost overnight, the superstructure of Google crumbled. It took some forty-two days to clean up the mess.”

“You mentioned Facebook. What happened to it?”

“Facebook was the beginning of the dark ages of human social interaction,” said the curator. “As Facebook became phenomenally successful, more and more people spent more and more time glued to the computer screen, poring over the curated lives of their Facebook friends scrolling by in the giant wall of collective consciousness. Over time, the wall was filled with selfies with strange faces, grainy vacation photos, even grainier party photos, and links to other ‘interesting’ stuff from the slimy depths of the internet. It was also saturated, if I may add, with comments like: ‘Ooh!’, ‘Hot!’, ‘Wow!’ and other such superlatives. Current research on the phenomenon of Facebook shows that towards mid 21st century, it was customary for the fetus to send Facebook updates from the womb.”

“Kind of strange, yes, but it does not sound that catastrophic so far,” said the Tao. “Did it really get rather dark at the end?”

“Yes, it did, and how!” exclaimed the curator. “In the year 2095, all hell broke loose when it was discovered that some 1 billion people on Earth had not stepped foot outside of their homes for months at a time, and had never met theirs many billions of Facebook friends, or anyone else, for that matter, face-to-face. This, and the popularity of online virtual sex, were leading to, for obvious reasons, a precipitous decline in human population. At that time, the World Government stepped in, and Facebook was closed down. More than 200 million people died from Facebook Withdrawal Syndrome. It was a terrible moment in human history. Glad that we are over it now. To think, it was just five hundred years ago, but we humans have made a turnaround.”

“Thank you very much for your time,” said the Tao. “It was very illuminating. I will definitely come back for more.”

“It was my pleasure,” said the curator. “Please do not forget to write in our visitor book. We have gone back to the old ways after the Internet died.”