SANTA CLARITA — A father who has struggled with his teenage daughter’s addiction to social media has created a web site to compete with YouTube and TikTok and that he claims will increase the intelligence of viewers.
Idris Frank, a 46-year-old software developer and chief executive officer of utok!, announced at a press conference Monday that his company’s platform provides the same dopamine release viewers often experience perusing popular social media sites, but that it also contains ‘patented features’ that raise the intelligent quotient of viewers and turns them into geniuses.
utok!, according to Frank, incorporates mental enhancement technology that puts viewers into an alpha-wave state that allows knowledge to be dumped into their brains through subliminal messaging without their conscious awareness. The result, said the CEO, is the equivalent of an hour of intense study gained for every minute scrolling the web site.
“This is a game-changer,” Frank announced to reporters gathered in the driveway of his suburban home, which also serves as utok!’s current headquarters. “The era of kids mindlessly plugged into devices, living an augmented reality at risk to their own development—and for the profit of big tech—has come to an end. From now on, whenever your child languishes on the couch, sifting through influencer-created content—advice posts, cat clips, student bloopers—you will begin to notice a dramatic increase in your offspring’s knowledge and skills.”
Frank pointed out a new drip system he recently installed on his lawn, and then he proclaimed to reporters, “I say bring on the endless zombie-like web-scrolling, because a new generation of savants is about to rise out of the virtual ether and unleash themselves on our four-dimensional universe!”
Economists predicted that utok!’s stock will be the largest initial public offering in history next week, many of them projecting it will surpass the $22 billion record set earlier this year by Chinese retail tech firm Aibaba Group Holding Limited.
“I appreciate the enthusiasm and support parents around the world have expressed for my app,” said the CEO as he adjusted the settings on his garden hose. “I look forward to upgrading our company offices to something more suitable for a megacorporation than this meager family home. Finally, I am very excited about being able to afford the top-notch Ivy League education my daughter’s countless hours scrolling anime fan fiction and dog videos has earned her.”
Frank’s intelligence revolution explodes
Frank turned on the garden hose and regaled reporters with the origin story of utok!. He said the idea occurred to him after an argument he had with his child, Shari.
“As a little girl, Shari loved to draw, sing, and write, but that changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we allowed her to play video games online to connect with her friends,” he said as he watered a row of drought-resistant rainbow chrysanthemums. “Soon, my little girl started to go through puberty, and she closed herself off in her bedroom, playing these games by herself long after her friends quit and went to sleep. She gave up all creative pursuits.”
Frank claimed that playing video games such as Minecraft and Roblox became the pathway through which Shari’ started to get hooked on passive online activities.
“By the time the pandemic ended, Shari was a teenager who spent her days outside of school locked in her bedroom, scrolling YouTube and TikTok. The beautiful child was no more, replaced by a moody social-media fiend.”
Frank said he and his wife, Tara, tried to intervene in Shari’s addiction but with little success.
“If we restricted her use of her device, she played along with whatever activity we planned instead—a board game, bike ride, beach day—going through the motions until she was back in her room and getting her next online fix.”
Finally, one Sunday after Shari refused to join Frank and Tara for lunch, Frank stormed into her bedroom and took away her tablet. He fended off Shari’s flailing arms and kicks and placed the device in a kitchen drawer.
Then, he went outside to mow the lawn.
“When I returned to the kitchen, I opened the drawer and looked for the tablet, to give it back to Shari, but it was gone. In its place was a folded piece of paper. I opened it, half-expecting an apology, but instead found a hand-drawn picture of Shari flipping me off.”
Frank shut off the garden hose and turned to the reporters. “From that moment on, I swore revenge against big tech for the damage inflicted on my daughter’s impressionable brain, and that’s when I seized a big idea.”
Users sign off and level up
Partnering with neuroscientists and psychologists at universities across Southern California, Frank started to develop his app. When it was ready to be tested, he began incorporating beta versions of the software on Shari’s device, which led to surprising results.
All he needed was a name for his breakthrough platform.
“On a more recent Sunday afternoon, after Shari spent hours sifting through relationship advice and disaster videos on the site—which subliminally blasted evolutionary-psychology theorems and climate-engineering formulas into her mind—she emerged from her bedroom and handed me a blueprint for a xeriscape lawn she designed that would reduce water usage in our yard by 70 percent. The blueprint included a more efficient foliage layout and sprinkler system as well as a colorful slew of drought-resistant flowers Shari wanted me to plant. She said, ‘Here, Dad, this is what you need to do to maximize the lawn’s performance.’”
“You talk?” Frank asked, stunned. “And with that,” he told reporters as he wrapped up his garden hose, “I knew what I wanted to call my new site.”
Veronica Diaz, October 25, 2022
Categories: Science & Technology