Climate campaigners across the globe are cheering the return of Clippy, Microsoft’s beloved pop-up animated paper clip. Clippy will transition from teaching us the ins and outs of Office 97, to monitoring our energy use, and providing helpful tips on how to get by with less.
In 1997, the finest minds at Microsoft came together, and utilizing state of the art computer modeling, reached a consensus that the future of computer productivity had been irreversibly settled. What Word and Excel users desperately needed were omnipresent animated figures to educate and inform us as we typed.
The original roster included a “Genius” Einstein figure and an adorable puppy, but it was Clippy that captured the hearts and minds of a generation of computer users; though to be fair, Clippy was the default.
“We were overwhelmed by the tremendous response Clippy received back in the day,” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said, “the convenience of receiving helpful tips from an adorable paper clip, before we even thought to ask for them, was the best thing to happen to the PC since control-alt-delete. Now it’s time to reboot the planet.”
As we labored over our keyboards at the turn of the millennium, Clippy would pop up when least expected to offer such helpful tips as, “did you know you can change your margins or even reformat your entire page?” Climate Clippy will leverage decades of artificial intelligence and multimedia advances to offer pop-up text, voice, video and will even take control of your electric vehicle, smart home and appliances.
Heavy foot on the accelerator? Climate Clippy will appear on your dash and remind you that reducing speed by just eleven miles per hour under the limit will bring much-needed relief to areas experiencing drought, flood, fire or snow.
Do you really need so many showers and all that laundry? Count on Climate Clippy to pop up and teach us that by wearing an outfit just twice more, and showering two days a week less, we would save enough energy to charge the telephone of every person on Earth for a week and a half.
Don’t worry about adjusting that pesky thermostat, Climate Clippy will be happy to do it for you. Sit back and watch the savings roll in!
Today’s interconnected world will allow Climate Clippy to not just educate and assist us, but to send critical updates on our individual energy use and opinions about the climate to the most trusted energy and opinion checkers around the globe in real time.
The Alliance of Climate Funders and Educators (ACFE) welcomed Clippy’s return in a statement: “knowing that we are no longer alone when we use energy or speak about the climate will provide each of us with the extra incentive we need to readjust to slower, less material lives and more helpful speech. The weather will be better and you’ll be happier.”
The election of Barack Obama marked “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
The return of Microsoft’s Clippy at this critical moment, when we have just twenty-three and a half weeks left to save the planet, may well mark the moment we all concede what we have known deep in our hearts since the dark days of command prompts and DOS.
Computer coders, from Bill Gates on down, truly do know what is best for the planet and for each of us.
- Avril Tromper
- Avril Tromper writes annually for CFACT.
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