Plug-Ins

Bobby had joined the Devils’ Den audience to escape the chattering salesmen at the New Ideas Show, but now he was really enjoying it. The ideas so far had been pretty wacky, but the amateur entrepreneurs presenting them had been passionate and unapologetic about their proposals. Maybe that’s what makes a good business person, thought Bobby.

The third person presenting wore a strange wig. At least it appeared to be a wig. It could be a really bad hairdo, or a case of double bluff where a baldy wears a hairpiece so bad that people say, “that could never be a wig!” Anyway, it was brown and spiky, like a seventies rock star.

It was amazing that host Collette Vapinski, who was famous for being famous, didn’t make fun of the wig. This was probably because of its unknown status. You could see that she was tempted, but resisted and instead said, “Please introduce yourself and explain your idea.”

“Hello panel! Hello audience! My name is Desmond. I’m here to talk about plugs. I know what you’re thinking – plugs, what’s there to talk about? How mundane.”

Low-tech pioneer Amisha Jordan rolled her eyes, expecting another electrical gadget. Digital activist Juno Osh leaned forward. Arch-capitalist Arthur Choo kept a straight face.

Desmond continued, “Plugs let you connect any object to any power source. Isn’t it amazing that a tiny power point lets you connect to infinite universal energy?” The audience didn’t think so. “And now we have SCARTs for audio-visual devices, USBs in computers, and Ethernet for networking, a different kind of power, plus all manner of alternative energies – solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, just to name a few. You know…”

“So what?” said Amisha. “What’s your point?”

He wasn’t daunted, and continued. “Aren’t electric cars amazing? They’re better in every way. They run quietly, with no emissions, and recharge for pennies. They are the greenest transport available.”

“Don’t push your greenwash, pal. We’ve had bicycles since the…”

Juno Osh interrupted her. “I suppose you came here on a bike from the City, did you? All one hundred and sixty kilometres this morning?” Amisha was embarrassed and stopped talking.

These interruptions made Desmond forget his script. He stood there for a while, looking stupid, then removed his wig and turned around. There was a metal socket in the back of his head, into which he plugged a cable leading to a projector.

A slideshow began on screen, showing his ideas for the next stage of Artificial Intelligence – full hardware-software-meatware integration. It was pretty technical. The audience and panel watched open-mouthed. Bobby thought, now that’s a real innovation.

After a few slides, however, something went wrong. The screen flashed goofy pictures, images of depression drugs, interracial pornography, and End Time prophecies. People gasped and laughed. Desmond became upset and unplugged immediately.

“I think it needs a bit more work,” said Amisha, and sat back, smiling.

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One Response to “Plug-Ins”

  1. Great idea. Rather mirrors what has happened in the “progress” from Arpanet to the current Internet, but that is not easy to unplug.

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