Adam spun the pen on his fingers with the other hand on his cheek. The classroom was full of busily writing people, but he had been staring blankly into space for some twenty minutes. Today’s writing assignment was somewhat of a big topic; but then everything they do here was somewhat of a big topic:
“What is currently the most pressing threat to humanity on Earth today? Describe it briefly and devise a plan of action that it can be addressed.”
Adam stretched lazily for one last time, and began scribbling.
* * *
“Alright, let’s see what we’ve got here,” Professor B. sat down at his desk and pulled out his reading glasses. Cathy, his TA, handed him a stack of half a dozen papers. “I’ve read through the class, and these are some of the better ones, sir,” she said.Professor B. picked up the first one, picked a few lines to read, and did the same for the rest of them. Took him less than 60 seconds.
“Where is that young man’s paper? You know, the one who asked me who founded this University, and whether it is a governmental project. He should have some interesting thoughts. What’s his name?” Professor B. asked.
Cathy frowned. “His name is Adam, sir. But I don’t think you would appreciate his careless, inadequate writing.” She pulled up a single sheet of wrinkled paper.
As Professor B. read Adam’s paper, he started with a frown. The frown became a pair of raised eyebrows, then a deeper frown. He finished the paper and hurriedly turned it over, looking for more to read. But Adam didn’t care to write anything there.
“Ha, ha!” Professor B. broke into short laughters. “This kid has some ideas! Draft a letter to the Chancellors for me, please. I’d like to nominate Adam for a thesis defense.”
* * *
The University is unlike any other universities. For one thing, people just call it “The University”, and not many people know what its full name is. For another, people graduate when they form a ground-breaking thought that has a high potential to lead to great changes in the world. These are call theses.
And Adam, who at that moment was having a laugh with his friends at a dinner table, had just presented the greatest, the grandest thesis that Professor B. has ever reviewed. On a single page, too.
* * *
Adam stood quite nervously before the panel of Chancellors. He was not expecting that careless piece of doodle would end up at the thesis review panel. Had he known it, maybe he would have taken the care to wipe off his drool on the page a little more sincerely.The Chancellors briefly went over the thesis defense process, and began the questioning period.
“You called for the complete control of the human race through an omnipotent computer algorithm, as I understood your paper,” a dark, male Chancellor spoke. “Please elaborate on the reason behind such a radical implementation.”
“Sir, that is a great definition for the project that I have thought up, which is just a thought, of course. A thought on paper…” Adam said.
A female Chancellor smiled and said, “all changes start with a thought. Please don’t be nervous. We are here to learn about your interesting thoughts.”
“Right, thank you madam,” Adam cleared his throat. “Let me call this project the ‘Mechanical Messiah‘, if I may.”
And he began to speak.