Human Digital Emulation
Government agencies had embraced computers
as a giant leap forward in communication and information
management. Millions had been spent to replace existing paper
based processes. Initial optimism plummeted, however, as digital
technology caused chaos and collapse in successive government and
public service organisations.
Following the IT problems which caused the
shutdown of the National Health Service, my consultancy was
commissioned to urgently report on what had gone wrong.
We closely examined the hardware and
software but it seemed entirely adequate for the job. I was so
perplexed that I took the unprecedented step of visiting a
hospital to see what the doctors and nurses actually did and to
try to understand why they were so unable to service the needs of
the computer system.
It was a complete revelation. No IT
consultant had ever before met users of their systems, and the
problem was immediately apparent. Human beings were behaving in
ways quite differently from computers. Something clearly had to
be done to change human behaviour to better fit the needs of IT
systems. Thus began Human Digital Emulation or HDE.
The first step was to digitally rename the
population. This initially led to major practical problems;
firstly in people remembering a fifty digit string of ones and
zeros, and secondly in the sheer time taken to say their names.
This was significantly eased when names were converted to
Other renaming was also introduced, with
physical medicine being designated hardware engineering
and psychiatry being described as software engineering.
This changed proved very popular with the data, as
the patients came to be called. Being described by ones doctor as
having a software difficulty even contained some
kudos that was greatly preferable to a previous diagnosis of
being totally mad.
Properly archived data storage, or
residential homes for older people as they had previously been
known, ensured that data was no longer simply lost. Inability to
locate where a relative had been placed had previously caused
much distress to nearest and dearest.
Backing-up of data was initially, of
course, a significant problem. Advances in fertility treatment
eventually ensured, however, that twins or triplets were a
feature of most births. Cloning allowed backup of single births.
These precautions afforded great advantages to employers who were
able to call upon a backup copy when idle, malingering staff
claimed to be physically ill or suffering from stress. Spouses
also found backups useful when the original copy of a partner
became corrupted and left them.
Back with the original problem of the NHS,
data was able to be analysed by smart programs and processed
vastly more efficiently by robots. Medical staff were able to
properly devote their days to sitting in front of computer
screens and typing on keyboards without the distraction of
interacting with patients.
Now that HDE has allowed everyone to
conform to the needs of computer systems, the NHS is once more
proudly able to boast support of data from boot-up to shutdown.