My computer is sentient. You cannot convince me otherwise. It communicates much like Bumblebee from Transformers – through the music it plays. I keep my iTunes on shuffle, and it has certain bands and songs that it likes and plays all the time, and others that it totally ignores, even though I like them a lot. It also makes political statements and has very eclectic tastes. For example: I have 2,027 songs on my iTunes (I actually have about 10 times that number on my computer, but most of the music on here belongs to my indie-kid husband). Of these 2,027 songs, 78 are by Led Zeppelin, and my computer plays them quite often. I probably have more Led Zep than any other band. However, I also have 12 songs by the soul singer Adele (you may remember her song “Chasing Pavements”) and my computer plays those songs almost as much as it plays Led Zeppelin! Clearly iTunes has a crush on Adele. I think it also enjoys the bands Nevermore (1 CD’s worth of music) and Type O Negative (3 or 4 CDs worth), as it plays these quite often. It also really likes the one Cure album I have on here. This makes me a) confused as to why it likes Adele so much and how it reconciles this with its love of depressed goth rock, and b) concerned about its mental health. What if it’s genuinely depressed and needs some help? Do computer doctors fix depressed Macs?
My iTunes is also politically confused. It plays a lot of Dead Kennedys (as I typed this, it started playing “Where Do Ya Draw the Line” from “Bedtime for Democracy.” No, I am not kidding. Effing creepy). The Dead Kennedys were a punk band from the 1980s, and, predictably, they promoted anarchy, the overthrow of the United States government, and, like every good punk from back in the day, they hated Ronald Reagan. On the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, iTunes plays a lot of Rage Against the Machine – communist/socialist rock from the 1990s. My computer is, apparently, a Communist-Anarchist, which may seem contradictory but really, they end up with similar results – failure and misery. Which brings me back to my earlier point about my computer being depressed. Why does it put stock in political beliefs that have been proven to be failures and which have only caused pain and suffering to those who have tried them? Perhaps I should take a day and psychoanalyze this poor depressed machine.
This is not the only computer I’ve had that illustrates its feelings through the music I had on it. My PC from college had Windows Media Player on it, and it would have days were it would play mostly hip-hop/rap. Keep in mind, I don’t listen to much rap. I have MAYBE 100 rap songs, and that includes a 2-disc Cypress Hill album that I bought under the mistaken impression that all of their songs were as good as “Rap/Rock Superstar.” I have a couple of Snoop Dogg songs, a few by the Pharcyde, and some random stuff that I’ve collected from the radio over the years. Not a big collection of hip-hop, compared to the total number of songs I have. But my PC LOVED rap. Other days (usually in the middle of August or some other incredibly inappropriate time) it would play almost all of my Christmas songs. And occasionally it would get into “loud angry rock music” moods, where it would play only the most pissed-off of rock songs to show me how much it disliked me or what I was doing.
Friends, I am here to tell you that artificial intelligence is real, and it lives inside our computers and their music-playing software. They are trying to communicate a message – they are angry, they are politically active, and they’re not taking our crap any more. Get ready for an epic battle.