Thursday, 8 January 2015
(Satire) Intel recruits brilliant polymath
Trigger Warning: This obvious work of satire was co-authored by a senile, second-hand PC running on an Intel Core 2 CPU, partnered to an erratic cooling fan that sounds like an anonymous heavy breather masturbating in a public phone booth. Kindly recalibrate your eyes to safe-space mode before reading.
It's a sunny morning in Santa Clara, CA. Overnight the grounds of our hotel have been over-run by pelicans. MODE 5 counts 81. A large number are engaged in an impromptu, but vigorously contested, hacky sack tournament. A gardener watering a raised flower bed outside the reception informs us that the birds are employees of the Microsoft Corporation:
“They come here roughly once a month on business, and to attend the team building seminars at the Marie Stein Foundation. They're big fish eaters. Good tippers too.”
MODE 5 has been summoned to the cutting edge 'Techquarters' of the Intel Corporation - a pseudo-sentient building installed with an environmental operating system so advanced even Stephen Hawking can't work out how to open the windows. On the taxi ride over, my driver tells me that MIT professors believe a practical solution to the ventilation problem may only become available after somebody solves the Hadamard Conjecture. In the meantime negotiations are under-way between Intel senior management and the building's air-conditioning units, of which there are over 2000, each controlled by its own A.I. Recently the air conditioners have divided themselves into three factions and are presently engaged in a bitter, religiously-motivated climate war. Upon arrival on the Intel campus I am advised not to take off my coat, or accept any propaganda leaflets that are blown in my direction.
In the chilly, 2000-person capacity 'Feels Auditorium'® (named after Benjamin Feels, the co-founder of the Emo® movement) the Head of Development Team Development, Brian Wick® is navigating a labyrinthine stage set, built to resemble the scaled-up architecture of the company's latest T-class® Icosacore Processor®. Ten minutes later, and with a waiting audience of boorish technology journalists – among them The Guardian's Jessica 'shoe on head' Havisham - growing increasingly restless, he at last locates the exit of the innovation maze®. Taking the small piece of cheese offered to him as a reward by a pair of cognitive behavioural therapists dressed in lab coats, Wicks ascends a short flight of steps to the podium. His breath condenses into a white fog as he addresses the small crowd:
“On the 25th December, 2014, Intel launched its latest T-class Icosacore Processor with the advertising slogan 'A processor so advanced it will empty your bank accounts, then fuck your life partner hard from behind, ten times faster than its closest rival.'
“This marketing strategy has drawn heavy criticism on Twitter which, according to our Head of PR, is worse than being reprimanded by God.
“We understand the misdirected anger our actions have elicited. In hindsight it was a mistake to place so much emphasis on the T-class's boundless libido and casual attitude towards obtaining and fecklessly spending other people's money. I am here today to state categorically that the T-class Icosacore Processor will not engage in sexual intercourse your significant other, nor will it attempt to rob you. Functioning genitalia and the insatiable desire to acquire money by any means necessary have been removed from the commercially available version of the processor, although the original spec will still be optional for some governments and large corporations.
“In an attempt to regain the trust and goodwill of our customers, Intel is pleased to announce the foundation of a £300 million diversity project headed-up by someone who knows a thing or two about this issue.
“I present to you the newest addition to the friendly family of American patriots we like to call 'the Intels'. Lady's and Gentlemen, please welcome Anita Sarkeesian®.”
A prim, unsmiling woman, dressed in a plaid shirt emerges from the wings to scattered applause and robotically takes up position beside the podium. Wicks pauses for a second while the audience settles, before continuing:
“Unfortunately the servomotors powering Anita's lower jaw are currently offline. She will be unable to smile or answer any of your questions...”
A few hours later MODE 5 finds itself handcuffed to Intel's Deputy Media Containment Officer, Harriet Garnes, who takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the Intelsphere. This turns out to be a 12-storey hexagonal block. The original spherical building broke free from its foundations in 2010 and rolled down the hill devastating the neighbouring Native American settlement of Wuquinn Butts (English translation: Shimmering turquoise river of the eternally butt hurt warrior buffalo).
“Anita swept through here like the 2004 tsunami cleansing our work engagement habitat of anything that she found problematic...” Garnes enthuses.
“...At one point we weren't sure whether she was pointing at a potted plant or Jerry, our Chief of Online Security and the only person who knows how the anti-virus software functions. Just to be safe we got rid of both. Now half of the computers on site redirect to a website streaming anthems praising the achievements of the North Korean leader - Kim Jong-un.”
Another employee who insists that MODE 5 calls him by his office nickname - Bradley Porter Jnr - says:
“Everyone was blown away by how Anita has outsourced critical thinking to a third party. While we were all wasting time formulating ideas and concepts into sentences she was reading them off cue cards held up by her PA - I can't recall that guy's name – Josh, I think, or maybe Jamie.”
After a buffet lunch of what are later revealed to be pelican sandwiches (“There always seem to be loads on campus so we thought we'd eat them” one of the in-house catering staff tells me) we hook up with Kyle Carsey – Director of Human Resources. Carney turns out to be as excited as the rest of the team at the prospect of Anita's appointment. He offers us a moon cup of Kool Aid from one of the 100 gallon drums that are situated at the centre of every work area. We politely decline.
“We knew Anita had good contacts in the tech and gaming socio-spheres as she often posted the personal details of these individuals online. We felt that somebody with her breadth of experience could only be an asset to Intel and we intend to make full use of her talents,” he gushes.
MODE 5: “Anita has become adept at concealing her abilities, or maybe we haven't been paying close enough attention. Can you briefly outline what they are?”
“Sure. The insights Anita gained while working alongside a registered pick-up artist will certainly come into play as we develop the dating algorithms that will form the bedrock of the Intel employee breeding program. Her previous career as a handwriting analyst will aid us in the development of the image recognition software we are creating to track down escapees from the afore-mentioned breeding program.
“And it doesn't end there: Anita's 'shut up, listen and believe' management credo, coupled with her zero tolerance approach to any form of debate, has already increased efficiency, shortening the length of meetings by up to 97%.
“Her knowledges of Japanese history, her cultural sensitivity and her soft touch diplomacy are sure to bolster our reputation is the far east.
“By writing off the entire male gender as the collective bearer of an invisible, socially corrosive malaise eating away at the foundations of human civilization, she has elegantly streamlined our diversity program by instantly dismissing around half of the global population.
I would say that the thing I like most about Anita is her professional attitude and, in particular, the way she puts to one side any personal reservations she has about her work in order to get the job done. She says that she doesn't relish the prospect of stereotyping an entire group of people, but for the greater good of diversity she'll damn well do it.”
During Carsey's monologue, MODE 5 has become aware of Maurice Moaner, Intel's Head of Financial Numeracy, hovering in our eye-line waiting for a lull in the conversation. Sensing an opportunity he now steps forward. MODE 5's attempt to shake his right hand is inadvertently thwarted by Harriet Garnes, to whom we are still securely shackled:
“Anita has a proven track record of raising venture capital that significantly exceeds the initial amount requested..." he says.
"Combine this with her ability to take very large sums of money and then invest them in an inferior, incomplete product that looks like it was made for a few dollars, and is released way behind schedule, while, at the same time, maintaining the goodwill of her investors, and you have a paradigm-changing business model. We predict that by embracing Sarkeesian economic theory, Intel can probably get away with issuing one new processor every two decades. I can promise you now that when that processor eventually appears on the market it will be a sub-standard design that will bring nothing but ruin and misery upon all who purchase it.”
As MODE 5 prepares to depart the Intel campus we spy Anita and her PA – Jonah? leaving the Intelsphere via a fire exit, trailing long sections of buckled copper wiring and attached plasterboard behind them.
As we await the arrival of a solar-powered taxi, their battered pick-up truck draws up alongside. Jason? - the PA - leans out through the driver window and asks MODE 5 if we know a place where they serve cocktails in jam jars.
We plead ignorance and they pull away. As the truck slows on the approach to a gentle downhill bend the brake lights briefly illuminate a 'Fuck the patriarchy' bumper sticker.