The Norman Transcript


February 3, 2013

Pablo Picasso: ‘Computers are useless’



Regarding the use of DNA databases as an infallible crime-solving tool, Dr. Angell is equally outspoken on how easy it is to circumvent such “infallible” systems. We’ve all been taught the merits of such technology: you put a hair or body fluid sample into the great crime-solving machine and out comes a criminal’s name.

“Absolute nonsense,” states Dr. Angell, “because what’s going to happen is that the criminals will go to the local club where the criminals congregate. They will pick up the ashtrays and then, when they go out to do their dirty deeds, they will scatter samples everywhere, so when the CSI comes in, they will have a huge amount of work, masses of false trails. Of course you’re going to leave body samples when you commit a crime, but there are 100,000 other body samples, as well. The system gets overloaded, and fails.” As a result, we are left no better off than we were before the use of DNA databases: the innocent go to jail, and the guilty go free. This brings to mind what were, according to President Ronald Reagan, the nine most terrifying words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Some people, especially computer security and database administrators, like to fault Dr. Angell for offering more questions than answers, calling him “The Angell of Doom and Gloom.” I rather like his approach, though, as my personal life is full of unanswered questions, as are the lives of most people with at least half a brain. The moment that a person stops asking questions is the moment a person has decided that they know all of the answers.

Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. Contact him at 919-9901 or

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