Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I, Robot

Last week, during pre-registration, a student came by to check my body temperature. I didn't turn him back since I am always thrilled to see students who are genuinely curious. His curiosity stemmed from the following comment he had read about me on “He is a robot! Very knowledgeable, indeed, but also routine-driven to the extreme... at the same time, he maintains a pretty interesting blog.” I am still wondering if I should feel hurt. Like his pals, the author is a ├╝bergamer who humbly styles himself as “Gatekeeper” (for the uninitiated, this would make him a Doom junkie). He apparently wants to keep the civic spirit AUBG so cherishes alive by dispensing empowering knowledge to the downtrodden and inexperienced (he has posted something like 8,000 comments already). Judging by his writing style, I probably gave him a C-, if I was in good mood. I should have known that no good deed goes unpunished. Anyway, it seems the opening qualification shouldn’t bother me much. Really, how could I hope to come alive for someone used to the electrifying excitement of immersive gaming? I would need to be a creature out of Avatar to achieve this. Plus, it’s quite obvious that Spaceship Earth will soon be taken over by cyborgs who hide their empty eyes behind dark glasses. If this is the case, becoming an early adopter of Al Gore’s* presentation style could give me the sharpest competitive edge. Ergo, I should be quite OK with "Gatekeeper" calling me a “robot.” His praise for my blog, though, nags me big time. His brain has surely been toasted from those 10,000 hours** of gaming he must have clocked in his second life (that order may have been reversed if he is still stuck in some dreary Bulgarian city, chained to a job incommensurate with his bloated self-importance). Hm, if such a persson can still find what I write “interesting,” there is perhaps something I am not doing right...

* Al Gore is a former US vice president and current environmental campaigner. He was once rumored to have a winding key sticking between his shoulder blades. That bulge is no longer visible under his suit, so “he” must have upgraded to a more powerful source of energy.

** How do I know it’s 10,000? Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) has calculated that this is roughly the amount of practice it takes to achieve superb excellence in almost any area – even the silliest.