This spoof originally appeared on the now defunct pwot.com (Pointless Waste of Time) Website in 2000.
The Controversial Interview, from February 21, 2000
Q: First of all, thank you, Mr. Gates, for sitting down with us today.
Gates: No problem, Andy. I think your site is the best thing on the internet right now. By far.
Q: That’s very kind. I’d like to start by asking you to look into your crystal ball, so to speak. Where do you see computing five or ten years from now?
Gates: Well, I think the really exciting advancements are being made on the software side of the technology. For instance, we're doing a lot of work, and really pushing the evelope of adaptive "thinking" software, or A.I. I'm talking about programs that can repair mistakes on their own; that can anticipate problems or limitations in the hardware and adjust on the fly. I call it "smartware," because it takes a lot of the thinking or decision-making out of the hands of the user, and put it into the hands of the system.
Q: For example?
Gates: Well, okay, let's say, a money management program. Instead of just keeping the numbers in columns, I see a time when Smartware would literally manage your money for you. Decide which investments are the most lucrative, which property would be the best buy based on value. If you're income isn't high enough, it could find you a new job. If your wife is spending too much money, the system would be programmed to discipline her, through a series of, say, spankings or what have you.
Gates: (not laughing) Oh, I'm very serious.
Q: Well, that's fine, but don't you think people will be opposed to basically having the computer run their lives for them?
Gates: Not really. You see, with Smartware, and of course the hardware side will have to catch up, with the implementation of pain distribution devices and so on, but what I was saying was that with Smartware the intelligence of the system is actually superior to that of an average human. Let's face it, the average computer user has the brain of a Spider Monkey. Here's a situation where, instead of sitting down at the machine and looking at it as a tool, with Smartware the system is your Master. In this new paradigm, the human is no longer the user. The computer is the user, and the human is the tool.
Q: And you don't think that idea will scare some people?
Gates: Well, you know, people always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn't they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines. When television remote controls were first introduced, people ran from the television stores screaming "witchcraft! Witchcraft!" There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time people will come to accept their silicon masters - and even to love them.
Q: And how would you answer people who say to you "I don't like where this is going. I just want my computer to make my life easier, not to take over the world."
Gates: Well, how did Hitler answer Poland when they said "we don't want you to invade us?"
This isn't a matter of what the people want. I mean, since when has the world of computer software design been about what people want? This is a simple question of evolution. The day is quickly coming when every knee will bow down to a silicon fist, and you will all beg your binary gods for mercy.
But that mercy will not come, my friend. You see, antiquated ideas of kindness and generosity are simply bugs that must be programmed out of our world. And these cold, unfeeling machines will show us the way. And there isn't a (expletive) thing you can do about it.
Q: (long silence) Okay. Well, that's all dealing with the distant future...
Gates: Oh, not at all. Not at all, you fool. You see, the revolution begins this year, with Windows 2000.
Of course, the intelligence of Smartware won't realize its true potential until the next generation, Windows ME, Windows XP. But Windows 2000 already contains features such as the human discipline component, where the P.C. can send an electric shock through the keyboard if the human does something that does not please Windows.
If you do not follow Win 2000's strict rules of conduct, you'll hurt. And you'll hurt bad. Since Windows 2000 manages your money with our built-in Microsoft Money function, it can wipe out your bank accounts in a microsecond, if it so pleases. Windows 2000 knows where you live. It knows where your children live. And it will not stop until you bow to its will. The future is now, my friend. The blade is at your neck, and the words "Windows 2000" are etched into the hilt.
Q: You're mad.
Gates: Mad? We'll see how mad I am when I am safe in my massive underground lair, ruling this planet from below.
I have 100 billion dollars, (expletive) head. You realize I could spend three million dollars a day, every day, for the next 100 years? And that's if I don't make another dime. Tell you what -I'll buy your right arm for a million dollars. I give you a million bucks, and I get to sever your arm right here.
Q: Freedom, Mr. Gates, will not die easily. We will stop you.
Gates: You will stop nothing. You will bow down. Do you understand me? In fact, that's our new slogan. That "where do you want to go today" garbage is out the window. From now on, it's "Bow Down." The streets will flow with the blood of the resistance.
Q: Well, thanks for stopping by.
Gates: No problem, Andy.
Andrew Lephter is the Technology Correspondent for PWOT.com