What I am getting at here is, do we have the basic skills to survive no matter what happens?
Most probably, very few people living in an urban environment, K5ers or not, would have all of the practical skills required to survive in case of a large-scale disaster. However, there's one great skill the large majority of us have and which would help us out tremendously: algorithmic thinking.
Most of us pursue a career, or studies, in which one is required to approach a problem and dissect it methodically. We are used to converting large problems into sets of smaller problems, with choices.
Let's approach the problem of food.
We could see this problem a bit like this:
- Do I eat meat? (yes|no)
- If (yes) then I must acquire meat.
- I can acquire meat through, say, hunting, looting, or raising livestock.
- To hunt, I need a rifle. Do I have a rifle? If not, can I get one? etc...
What I'm getting at is that we may probably not start with all the needed skills and equipment right off the bat. However, we would know what to acquire fairly quickly. Then we'd most probably be able to follow the necessary steps to acquire it. So yes, we'd probably do well in case of an emergency except for one thing.
In case of a cataclysm, people would be running wild. To survive in that kind of environment, we'd have to negotiate. Predict the reactions of people. We would have to be able to answer the question, "who can you trust?" And the problem is, some of us are less adept at dealing with people in real-life situations than at dealing with machines; we are also sometimes less adept at dealing with irrational-minded people as we are at dealing with rational-minded people. And in case of an emergency, except for people with very cool heads, reason tends to fly out the window.
The problem, IMHO, is not only that we wouldn't know how to hunt to survive. The problem is, rather, that we would not know how to deal with someone who's on our hunting territory, and who has the same quarry as us in his sights.
So that's my answer to the second part of the story, asking whether geeks would survive in case of an emergency. As to the first part, whether we are just plain elitist bastards... not all of us. But many.
Many of us are. But why? Why would we want to show contempt for those who are not like us, who have different skills than ours? I think there must be reasons. They may be social, a question of values, perhaps? Honestly, I don't know. But hey, K5's a discussion board; somebody here's got to have an idea :)
Thoughts on this?
--KW [Diary] /* Do all humans pass the Turing Test? */