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Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1551 xkcd comics, and only 14 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Tamagotchi Hive
The Singularity happened, but not to us.
Title text: The Singularity happened, but not to us.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Explain the comic and the title text

A part of the "My Hobby" series, this describes a distributed computing network using an automated system to simultaneously run trillions of Tamagotchis. As with most of the "My Hobby" series, the concept would work, and is closely connected to real world activities, but twisted enough to make it inherently absurd.

A Tamagotchi is a keychain-sized virtual pet simulation game from 1996. Ostensibly for children, they had appeal for people of all ages. The characters are colorful and simplistically designed creatures based on animals, objects, or people. Beginning with the 2004 Tamagotchi Plus/Connection, a second wave of Tamagotchi toys emerged, featuring a different graphic design by JINCO and gameplay which elaborated upon the first generations. However, the story behind the games remained the same: Tamagotchis are a small alien species that deposited an egg on Earth to see what life was like, and it is up to the player to raise the egg into an adult creature. The creature goes through several stages of growth, and will develop differently depending on the care the player provides, with better care resulting in an adult creature that is smarter, happier, and requires less attention. Gameplay can vary widely between models, and some models, such as TamagoChu, require little to no care from the player. Tamagotchi has a large fan base.

Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system is a software system in which components located on networked computers communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages. The components interact with each other in order to achieve a common goal. Examples of distributed systems vary from service-oriented architecture based systems to multiplayer online games to peer-to-peer applications. Distributed computing is often used for tasks that require resources which would otherwise be impossible or prohibitively expensive to manage with single computers. This may include large Bitcoin network mining operations, the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid or, yes, running trillions of simultaneous Tamagotchis using an AI protocol. That said, using AI to keep trillions of Tamagotchis perfectly taken care of is a complete waste of time; the whole point of Tamagotchi is the challenge of caring for the digital pet yourself.

The singularity in the title text refers to technological singularity which would result in an intelligence explosion where artificial intelligence would take over. The image and the title text resemble the scenario in The Matrix, but the implication is that the author takes care of a population of virtual creatures rather than an AI running over the human population.

Transcript

My Hobby
[A tree graph of Tamagotchis.]
Running a massive distributed computing project that simulates trillions and trillions of Tamagotchis and keeps them all constantly fed and happy



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