Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The audacity of hope

A popular sitcom elegantly described creativity as something possessed by people with glasses who lie. Tell that to a person who was immobilized from the waist down, he thought, a person for whom creativity and imagination was the only escape route from a world that constantly reminded him of his inadequacy and sheer helplessness. A manic rage gripped him every time he rolled into his lecture halls in his wheelchair (sophisticated beyond belief) and students stood up by way of greeting, a nauseating mixture of pity and sympathy oozing out of their being.  Every contact with humanity reinforced his ‘invalid ‘status and exacerbated his despair and agony.  

The only way he could cope with this endless abyss of self -loathing and disillusionment was by involving himself in his work. It was something that he cherished; something he wished to be known by, a visionary scientist who took the concept of Artificial Intelligence and expanded the realm of possibility. His name was associated with some of the seminal developments in the field of robotics. The Android project, which further blurred the distinction between man and machine, was his brainchild. It was an idea that sprang forth from his overall cynical outlook towards mankind; it was his testament to the eroding values and ideals of that ilk.

He had been an athlete before he lost control of his feet; a long distance runner. It was a passion in which he invested all available time outside of his professional commitments. He would run for hours on end, as if bodily constraints didn’t apply for him. Looking back, he would chuckle to himself over the perverse cruelty that fate had meted out to him; it was almost like a morbid April Fool’s Day prank gone wrong. But he could not let that phase of his life fade away and die out with him, he wanted to leave some sort of tangible evidence by way of proof that he was once a vivacious, energetic chap. And it was this desire that drove him to build into his creation the ability to run. He set himself to this task and worked like a man possessed, often all by himself, and after 3 years of excruciating effort, he had given his audacious dream a physical manifestation. He called it Twerp, which was the nickname his colleagues had bestowed upon him. Twerp was made to resemble the Scientist at the peak of his youth. Even his sternest critics couldn't help but begrudgingly hail this momentous occasion in Robotics history.

He however had one more wish.  He wanted Twerp to take part in the Boston Marathon. Realizing that the name could possibly trivialize his seriousness and jeopardize his campaign, he dropped the ‘p’. This announcement was however met with ridicule from all quarters, not to mention fierce resistance and outright rejection from the organizers of what they called a stupid idea. “ That ruddy thing is not even human, is he even in his mind?!!”. The Scientist was not to be deterred. He went on a whirlwind opinion mobilization tour, taking his invention along. The tour was an outright success; people were simply overawed by the Android. And slowly, the tides began to turn in his favour. He now had a huge body of passionate supported lobbying for his cause. The organizers however wouldn’t budge. He took legal recourse, and made an impassioned plea in front of the judge, almost moving the courtroom to tears. After his speech, however, the judge said something that had the effect of lifting a veil that had shrouded the whole issue. His rationale was so elegantly simple, that no one could really raise any sort of opposition. “I really don’t understand all this fuzz”, he said. “ Twer is human!!”.

1 comment:

Totalliemeh said...

Aaand he brings back the shenoys!!