Has every conversation in history been just a series of meaningless beeps? | Charlie Brooker | Comment is free | The Guardian.
…almost every monologue consists of nothing but the words PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE, repeated over and over again, in disguise. There has never been a single tweet that couldn’t be replaced with PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE. But then, it’s hard to think of a single human utterance outside of Twitter that couldn’t be replaced with PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE either. That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind, you say? Yeah, right. PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE.
If you could zoom out beyond the moon, beyond time itself, and picture the entirety of humankind since its creation to its eventual end, and somethow witness it repeatedly pinging the phrase PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE back and forth between itself, we’d probably resemble a squirming galaxy of bees endlessly performing needy little waggle dances in front of each other, minus the useful pollen co-ordinates.
Perhaps that’s a clue to the next stage of our evolution. We’ve already boiled communication down to acronyms, emoticons and shrtnd sntnces, all of which are simply more efficient ways of transmitting the PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE signal from the fragile core of our souls out into the wider world. Maybe the next stage is to reduce it all down to a single noise. I’d favour a short, electronic beep, not unlike the noise emitted each time Pac-Man eats a dot. Instead of having to think of an amusing Facebook update to impress your friends, each of whom is so consumed with agonising over their own update they’re only pretending to pay attention anyway, you simply push a button and transmit a little beep. Said beep is then automatically intercepted by your friends’ software, which broadcasts a brief “acknowledgement” sound effect in response. So all “conversations” would effectively run like this (I’ll translate as we go along):
You: Beep (“PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE.”)
Them: Bip-bip (“EXISTENCE AUTHENTICATED. PLEASE AUTHENTICATE MY EXISTENCE.”)
You: Beeeeep (“EXISTENCE AUTHENTICATED. DISCOURSE ENDS.”)
Now that might seem robotic. Inhuman, even. But it’s polite, and it frees up your brain for more important tasks, such as curing disease or baking brownies. So don’t fear this inevitable future, but embrace it.