Welcome back, let’s jump right in! Since we’re painting this picture of a Caktus universe, it comes to mind that perhaps we’ve left some people behind down on Earth. Some folks have journeyed along with us, of course, but for the remnant–well, things may seem a little alien to them. So, this category will hold posts that bring those folks into the loop. And when I say ‘those folks,’ I mean me. I am that alien anthropologist (thanks to my liturgy professor for that term), venturing into this new-to-me universe of technology, and I’m pretty sure the air has a different molecular make-up than I’m accustomed to. But of course there are hundreds of others out there like me who use, but do not understand, technology. For myself and all the other alien Earthlings, let’s take copious notes and learn what makes this technology culture and Caktus society unique.
The Alien Anthropologist category will be one of generous questioning. Questions asked may have native developers, techies, and Caktusians shaking their heads or throwing their hands up in frustration. But this is all about making and stating observations, and looking at things with fresh eyes. From time to time, a guest developer may make an appearance to answer “silly questions.” Oh look, there’s one right there!
Lindsey: Excuse me, can I take just a minute of your time?
Developer: Huh? (Developer sits at a desk with two computer screens; he’s typing away)
Lindsey: Hi, I’m Lindsey and I’m new around here. What do others call you?
Developer: When they’re in a good mood, just “Joel.”
Lindsey: Whatcha working on there? (turns to look at the computer screens)
Dev Joel: Well…
Lindsey: Hold on a second! All I see are letters, some numbers, parentheses, dashes, slashes, and incomplete sentences! Are we reading the matrix? Are we IN the matrix? (examines her outstretched hands in front of her eyes) But everything feels so real…
Dev Joel: If you were in a running program I doubt you could tell. The rules of your universe and the facts of life would seem inevitable whether you were a simulated sheep or the main character.
Lindsey: Hmm... (internally ponders the meaning of life)
Dev Joel: And maybe that’s for the best. Getting computers to do the right thing requires some iteration: birthing many timelines that crash and fall apart to learn what not to do.
Lindsey: (proceeds to write previously mentioned copious notes) So you’re saying that…
Dev Joel: Maybe our universe has had the bugs worked out of it, or maybe we’re meant to help find the bugs from within.
Lindsey: Mind. Blown.
Dev Joel: Most clients prefer to have their simulated worlds stick to spreadsheets, orders, and emails, though. It’s not possible to make good change in our world–whatever it really is made of–if you’re always questioning the basics of existence.
Lindsey: Rather than have their minds blown? I don’t blame them. Well, thank you for this brief tutorial with a side of existential collapse.
Dev Joel: I need to go lay down after that.
Lindsey: My legs are wobbly too. See you around sometime. (walks off to find a quiet place to ask self, “What even is technology?”)