Responding to the trauma inflicted on animals in labs, the animal kingdom hits back where it hurts most — at technology

It was the ultimate tale of revenge ever planned and executed. For centuries, man had indiscriminately used animals for his experiments. And one fine day, the animals decided that enough was enough, as opposed to man’s firm belief that the world is not enough, a philosophy he imbibed from an entity appropriately named Everything Or Nothing.

So the entire zoological universe went to the asinine community for advice because they knew exactly how man thought — after all, man was spending most of his life making an ass of himself. “We need to make him powerless,” announced the head ass. “What is the one thing that he can’t do without?” “Mobile phones, Internet, social networking sites...” the answers came, fast and furious. “In other words, technology,” the ass declared triumphantly. “So let’s take that away from him by infiltrating into the tech domain and making him redundant.”

The move had to be slow, but persistent. The bug was sent in first, in 1946. No one suspected a thing. Soon, the mouse scurried in, followed by the virus and the worm. Meanwhile, the dog felt terribly insulted at his exclusion, so the three-headed dog from Greek mythology, Kerberos, became a network authentication protocol. Python, a programming language and Tomcat, a web server, too got in unobserved. The penguin moved in as Tux, the Linux mascot, computer data storage was taken over by RAM and the gnu became an operating system. The infiltration process was complete. It was now time for takeover.

The dove interrupted the proceedings. “What we are doing? — it isn’t fair.” “Really?” the ass sneered. “Do you know that the humans pinched all their technology from us? They took echolocation from bats, navigation systems form pigeons, industrial adhesives from geckos, cancer-detecting microchips from jellyfish, streamlined Bullet trains from a kingfisher's bill and highway reflectors from cats’ eyes? And, what have we got in return? Send our troop of monkeys now.”

The question ‘How many monkeys would it take to type out the entire works of Shakespeare?’ started off being an extension of the light bulb joke, but what man didn’t realise was that the apes had taken it seriously. Soon, they collaborated on ‘Going simian with Shakespeare’, a virtual project involving virtual keyboards, and virtually came up with the entire unabridged collection — okay, they had succeeded in recreating 99.990 per cent of it. Suddenly, the data entry industry found a new source of entry level operators, and by making themselves available in large numbers, the chimps not only solved IT’s constant problem of manpower shortage, but also agreed to work for peanuts.

Meanwhile the ass, while playing Donkey Kong, accidentally clicked on a web banner for Flipkart and ended up ordering a book titled The Pragmatic Programmer. To his delight, he discovered a life-altering fact — a programmer had used a rubber duck to debug code. (Actually, the programmer would carry the rubber duck with him and explain the entire code line by line to it, during the course of which he would figure out the problem himself, but attributed the final results to his rubber duckie.) This was wonderful news. If rubber ducks could repair Java code, imagine what live ducks could do! And it was thus that the animals took to technology like a duck to water.

What’s going to happen when the animals take over the tech world entirely remains to be seen. But rumours are abound that once the monkeys are through with Shakespeare, they will be working on an original book, titled Man Farm, where men will be playing the roles of pigs, horses and other animals. A hi-tech movie is also on the anvil, featuring lots of special effects and a giant human being venturing into a forest, tentatively titled Manzilla.

(sureshl.india@gmail.com)

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