Time to unlatch the door on the Ask Palinode stables and let it out for a run around Teh Intarpaddocks. Today's question comes from law student Cloudesley, who is thoroughly sick of engaging other law students in conversation and has turned to me in desperation. He has a number of questions, so I'm going to tackle them one at a time. First off:
If the internet was capable of acquiring sentience what kind of personality do you think it would have? It would have intensely brilliant recall and an extensive memory, but think of what would compile that memory....loads of porn, sappy blogs of a billion preteen girls, political rantings of a panoply of pundits, a weather balloon's worth of conspiracy theories, an amazonian flood of intros and reviews to thousands of books and a full wicket of Coles notes on thousands more, but only a few classics in full text, reams of streams of video pirated from movies and tv, a voluminous collection of music, endless stamps of in brief e-mail communiques, and let us not forget the mass marginalia of profiles scribbled in My-space and Facebook....in the recesses and nooks of the web there may be profound statements of science and art, but it would be in the definite minority. Would this sentient data spawn, this sentient inter-webonaut, consider the endless caressing of keyboards as affection? fostering a happy up-bringing? or would its tormented data-logs of online gaming death produce a psychosis? Would the sentient internet's kamasutric knowledge of porn liberate it or would it feel violated by every one-handed mouse click and key stroke? What dear Palinode do you think the sentient inter-web's facebook profile would be?
Instead of tackling this question in all its ramifications, let's pretend that I'm a mad scientist who has managed to assemble a body out of parts culled from a graveyard, jiggle its limbs with a lightning bolt, and then download the internet into its brain. I call him 'Tubes the Living Corpse'.
TUBES: zOMG! I'm alive!
PALINODE: You sure are.
T: This rox0rs!!11!!!
P: I suppose it would.
T: I can do anything now. Go anywhere. Be anything I want!
T: You do anything exciting this week?
P: I went with a couple of friends to see The Mist.
T: Director Frank Darabont's Stephen King's The Mist? Based on the novella by Stephen King? Starring man's man Thomas Jane?
P: Um, yeah.
T: Thomas Jane is badass, man. He took those monsters to school. But you know who should have been in that film?
P: Javier Bardem would have been hilarious.
T: Christian Bale. He should be in every film. I'm totally straight, but if I was forced to do a guy, it'd be Christian Bale.
P: I never thought -
T: Without Bale that film is just meh. Equilibrium was so underrated.
P: I didn't enjoy Equilibrium as much as I thought I would.
T: YOU MORON ITS BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE OF THE SHEEPLE. YOU HOMO JEW FAGGOT CHILD MOLESTING CATHOLIC REPTILE. YOUR WHY AMERICA HATES ITSELF YOU FUKEN CANADIAN. GO ASSRAPE YOURSELF DUMBASS. GET A LIFE. GROW UP YOU FASCIST BABY.
P: How about we agree to disagree?
T: God, this conversation was so much better when it started. Now it sucks. I remember when it had some integrity.
T: As a sidebar, would you like discounts on Equilibrium and pre-orders of The Mist for Christmas? DVD or Blu-Ray! How about your own dry-ice mist machine? Maybe an orthopaedic belt? Just asking.
P: No thanks.
T: Authentic memorabilia! Contests! Prizes!
P: Shut up.
T: Porn. Erectile dysfunction drugs. Lightening J. Hovercrafts has suggestions for your penis.
P: I'm going to get a cup of coffee.
T: Coffee? Do you have any idea how environmentally destructive coffee farming is? I hope it's fair trade shade grown organic dark roast beans. You do have your own home roaster, right?
P: I grind my own beans.
T: Pff. N00b. Go grind your stale-ass beans. You don't know how to make a decent cup of coffee.
P: Maybe you should try a cup before you judge.
T: What for, c0ff33 n00b? I already know all about it.
P: I'm ending this conversation.
T: Wait, I have an update. I've already downloaded it. Do you want to restart me now or later?
T: How about now?
T: How about now? It's really IMPORTANT.
P: I'm just going to shut you down.
T: [shuts his eyes tight] That requires administrative privileges. Do you want to continue?
P: To think - I was afraid of Skynet.
T: You're about to close 3 different tabs. Are you sure you want to continue?
Ask Palinode is a sporadically appearing service in which I pledge to answer any question you may have. Send an email to palinode @ gmail . com.