No love in e-mail message

Whoever wrote ''I LOVE YOU'' on the subject line of e-mail messages this past Thursday obviously didn't love computer users very much. When attached messages were opened up, they did extensive damage, ruining all sorts of files. The virus reportedly hit 270,000 computers, proving that the high-tech age has made mammoth-scale vandalism a new reality.

The temptation, of course, is to joke about it - and there will be endless jokes, no doubt - but there was senseless malice in this act, along with a demonstration that the computer technology that is improving business efficiency and daily life in so many ways does indeed have the capacity to trick us and hurt us. It will be necessary to find safeguards against this sort of thing, and the safeguards themselves may in some ways be limiting.

Technology can solve all kinds of problems, but it unfortunately cannot make human beings decent.

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