Sometimes a solution comes along for a terrible problem that’s so elegant in its simplicity you wonder what in the hell took so long.
At a Chicago conferenc recently somebody figured out a way to save nearly half the 6000 people hanging onto life while waiting for kidney transplants. Voila–if your relative’s blood type doesn’t match yours, why not use a computer database to trade with somebody else’s relative who does–and who can use yours.
The U.S. isn’t the first country to think this up; Netherlands, Israel, and South Korea already operate similar programs. Database technology, which provides searchability in a hundred ways across millions of pieces of information–and which is as close as we can get to the way the human brain works–gives us ever-more-exciting ways to help people in our own backyards and people around the world.
Of course, it also gives the government–and enemies–frighteningly increasing power to know everything about you, too. But we’ve weathered world wars, raised a generation of kids to hide in the bunker from possible atomic bombs, got through the cold war, and are coexisting with soldiers having to fight wars that were unprovoked, so I guess we’ll manage to come up with a way to coexist with vast numbers of people knowing incredible amounts of stuff about us. Already, studies show that our young people are far less concerned about privacy than earlier generations.
Good thing. And it looks like this time, the rebels among us are using computers–including blogs–to fight injustice instead of homemade bombs like the underground freedom fighters in the 60s. Truly, computers have brought home the truth: The pen is mightier than the sword.
Now may be we can get our government to switch weapons–and save a few tens/hundreds/thousands of lives. We don’t need another generation where so many of our good young men don’t live to marry and father the next generation.