A report contained in the documents outlines plans for the construction of a 115-acre state-of-the-art telecommunications complex stretching from Cottage Grove Ave. to Lake Michigan. It did not include any technical specifications or clear information on the purpose of the information superhighway. The report did, however, note that its construction “would plop” the University of Chicago’s “meaty haunches” into the “goddamn driver’s seat” of the information economy.
In a phone conversation, Michael Franklin, Liew Family Chair of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, said he had “absolutely no fucking clue” what any of this was about. Franklin expressed dismay at the lack of transparency surrounding the development of the project and questioned its utility and the University’s intentions. “I’ve been doing this shit for over twenty years and let me tell you. There is no viable reason, practical or theoretical, to build the type of hyper- concentrated high- capacity telecommunications infrastructure you’ve just described to me,” he said.
The report poses more questions than it answers, but one page stands out from the rest. It shows a preliminary design for an inscription to be engraved around the exterior wall of the complex. While somewhat cryptic, it provides some insight into how the project fits into the University’s long-term vision to secure its status as a world-class institution of higher education. According to this early draft of the engraving, it is to read as follows:
sᴜᴘᴇʀʜɪɢʜᴡᴀʏ ɪs ᴅɪsᴄᴏᴠᴇʀʏ ʙʏ ᴀᴍᴘʟɪꜰɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ sᴜᴘᴇʀʜɪɢʜᴡᴀʏ ɪs ᴛʜᴇ ᴀᴍᴘʟɪꜰɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴏꜰ ᴅɪsᴄᴏᴠᴇʀʏ sᴜᴘᴇʀʜɪɢʜᴡᴀʏ ɪs ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴏʀɢᴀɴɪᴢᴛɪᴏɴ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴜɴᴅs ᴏꜰ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀsᴛᴀɴᴅɪɴɢ ʟᴇᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡʟᴇᴅɢᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴀɴᴅ sᴏ ʙᴇ ʜᴜᴍᴀɴ ʟɪꜰᴇ ᴇɴʀɪᴄʜᴇᴅ
In a recording sent to this reporter's personal voicemail, an audibly- intoxicated administrator who identified himself only as “the provost, alright, the provost of whooping your ass, you little shit,” provided some revealing information on the finer details of the project in the drunken ramblings of his twenty-seven minute monologue.
Following a flurry of incoherent threats and convoluted venerations regardingof the information superhighway, this reporterI was told that, “if you only knew… you don’t know what you just stuck your fucking nose into buddy, but you’re gonna know soon. You’ll see the way that… once it starts… I mean you thought the internet was something, but you know what? We’re gonna make the internet look like a puddle of horse piss… it’s the… it’s going on and it’s beyond you, okay?”