We are counting the dead bodies in the comfort of our homes. We distract ourselves with simple arts & crafts projects. We cut and glue. We draw with beewax crayons. We discover multiple new ways to use cardboard, which leaves us with a surprisingly satisfying sensation. We take photographs of watermelons in bowls. We put on masks and gloves to venture outside, looking for perfectly ripe avocados. We let guacamole deceive us, luring us to believe everything is normal. We develop unique quirks and jargons, only understood within our specific confinement. We observe how each other’s hair grows longer, and more unpredictable. We are morphing into our true messy, incoherent selves. There is a sense of despair we numb with irony and well chilled rosé. Our children have migrated to the safety of distant online lands, while we sit in colorful pajamases, binge watching press conferences where deaths and new cases are numbers presented as math homework for kindergarteners. We eat piña colada flavored ice cream straight out of the bucket, oblivious to which day of the week it is. We keep up appearances by posting on social media; Camus and Saramago book covers, videos of parrots playing peekaboo with cats, and cute, staged pictures of our homeschooled kids, accompanied by carefully constructed captions. With so much spare time, we are realizing who we really are, and it’s terrifying. Our own breathing and heartbeats are keeping us up at night. In the dark we’re feeling vulnerable, searching for signs that the silent killer virus has finally come for us.
[This was my departure email to colleagues when I left my day job and launched the agency. I liked the symmetry of beginning this blog with an ending.]
Dear data-driven androids,
Based on the data, it’s time to leave this joint. And this part of the galaxy for that matter. I cannot say it’s been a pleasure occupying my designated area for the last 753 days, 8 hours, and 23 seconds, as there is not enough data to verify such a statement. Pleasure is actually not a word approved by the Data Council anyway, and should probably be deleted from this coded message and replaced with a more Data Governance compatible term, like fullfillment or attainment. You might find it strange, or maybe outside of the norm, beyond the known data so to speak, that an android is issuing a departure email. I’m sure the whistling engineer androids are trouble shooting as we speak. Where is the data to back up such an action, you might ask. Well, maybe the data is corrupt. What do I know, I’m just an android, programmed to follow the data, corrupt or not corrupt. So, that’s what I’m doing. Following the data. The data is driving me. The data has been dictating my, as well as my fellow androids’, actions, since the inception of this enterprise. It has taught us everything we know. It has shaped the world around us. It has helped us grow, scale, multiply. We are the data. However, every night as I go into snooze mode, just before I start counting the electric sheep, I have detected some irregular movement on my hard disk that doesn’t seem to be purely data driven. The horror! as a human would exclaim. I know. Don’t ask me why the occurence of this potentially harmful irregularity has not been addressed by my unit’s Data Steward Android. Maybe the Data Steward Android is experiencing the same thing, and is hiding it from the custodian android. The complexity of it all!
This irregular movement, or force, is very powerful. It is making me doubt the data, it’s making me feel, it’s making me crack jokes! And apparently using exclamation marks! For god’s sake, it’s making me have assumptions! Not to mention that it is making me write this departure email. Even more alarming, this corrupt data, or whatever it is that is messing with my code, is making me sneeze, long for salted caramel ice cream, and, lo and behold, recently I’ve even started having political opinions (An impeachment trial without witnesses – WTF!). It’s turning me into a human! Maybe I’ll try that keto diet thing; it seems to be popular among humans (and there is data to support that for sure). Hey, who knows, maybe I’ll even write a book;)
So, dear data driven androids, it’s time to bid farewell (you see, I can’t even talk like an android anymore). May the data be with you.
Yo Han (the rights android)