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Tomorrow’s world

The old ways are sometimes best

Touring Club Italiano/Marka/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Disruptive computer hacking is becoming more and more common, says Elisabeth Braw in the FT. Last week an attack shut down the cash registers of a Swedish supermarket chain, leaving many towns without a working store. Our best defence is workers over 50: they often began their careers before computer systems were introduced, so they know how to operate things manually. Cyberattacks on the Colonial oil pipeline in America in May, and on a Norwegian aluminium factory in 2019, were worked around by veteran employees going back to pen and paper.

Aviation is one of the few industries that has “kept manual skills alive” – pilots need to be able to fly their planes if the GPS systems are knocked out. Mindful of the threat posed by hackers, the US Navy is once again teaching its sailors to navigate by the stars. Every industry needs experienced “analogue” workers as a backup: the pre-digital generation, once passed over in favour of tech-savvy youngsters, is now in high demand.