Friday, March 02, 2007

Inappropriate Dinner Conversation

This post is rated PG-13 for adult content.

(She's doing adult content now? Next she'll be swearing and drinking!) Hush, you.

At a Super Secret Happy Hour in an undisclosed location (where I consumed copious amounts of Pepsi and a disagreeable taco), a truly baffling topic dominated the conversation for much of the evening. Apparently, earlier in the day, one of the attendees (whom, for the purposes of this post, we shall call Bacchus) had declared that, should he embark upon a trip to Alpha Centauri to build a new society, his minimal requirements would include, not female companionship (not even his wife), but a 4 GB RAM stick containing, shall we say, explicit material. Women, he posited further, would soon become obsolete. Technology would be able to fulfill all of man’s needs.

Robots would serve him food, pick out his clothes, balance his checkbook, and do everything else that the women in his life had thus far done for him. And the RAM stick would do what little the robots… couldn’t. Did I mention “inappropriate”? I did? Good. Moving right along. He would even have robots raise children, which would be incubated by a machine and generated from pre-existing zygotes. By the time he reached Alpha Centauri, he would have a whole team of young, healthy people who had been trained during the flight to build his new colony entirely populated by males.

But Bacchus’ woman-less world has many problems. In fact, his world is more apt to be male-less. First, if this were a female-only society rather than a male-only society, the technology to incubate a fetus for the needed amount of time would be unnecessary. You would, of course, still have the problem of eventually running out of the original zygotes, which would force you to turn to cloning to continue the species. But the female-only society once again has benefits over the male-only society here because the male-only society would not only have to have the technology to create the incubators but also an artificial egg to populate with the cloned DNA. A female-only society would have natural eggs ready to go, no new tech needed.

The other problem is the one I brought up here. I even specifically addressed this to Bacchus: Without women to motivate men to do something other than watch the content of the RAM stick, how could you possibly build a society? He paused, then said “You may have a point.” But that was not the end of it, no. His solution was not to reintroduce women to society but to use the RAM stick as a reward for constructive contribution to society. In other words, the RAM stick would replace women even in the capacity of denying men their pleasure when they haven’t done what they are supposed to.

But who controls the RAM sticks? Does the computer decide who’s been a productive citizen? You know someone would figure out how to hack into that. Do you put a person in charge? How do you decide who that person is? And wouldn’t that put an awful lot of power into the hands of one individual? Better to distribute that power among many. But those many would not be able to access the RAM stick without also giving permission to someone else to access the RAM stick. So, how exactly is this better than having women?

I’m still trying to figure out if having this conversation was better or worse than talking about work, which is what we usually do.

(As a side note, someone sitting beside Bacchus gets bonus points for asking “If the RAM stick dies, does it get 72 MB of unused memory?”, which was made even more hilarious by the fact that Bacchus didn’t get it.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So he wants to live in an isolated colony of men where he gets pleasure from a "RAM stick" say this guy is married? Did he and his "wife" have to go to Massachusetts to get married? I kid, I kid! It just sounds funny when you take some of it out of context (actually, it all sounds pretty funny, if strange).

3/05/2007 12:09 PM  

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