A startup based in a garret in Rotherham, England, has announced that they have solved complexity.

Using a laptop running Ubuntu Linux, a small team of researchers, well actually a guy with a beard called Aubrey, has coded an artificial intelligence (AI) that can solve any complex problem.

Aubrey Caterwaul will revealing all in his explosive new memoir of the journey to create his solution. Titled Lemon Squeezy: How I solved complexity in my spare time when everyone else was banging on for years about how it was really, really hard, it will be released by Exapt Press this autumn just as soon as we get the manuscript back from GPT-3.

Aubrey, who won’t reveal his surname, says that “It wasn’t too hard really. I don’t know what everyone has been making such a fuss about all these decades.”

He says, “I primed it by plugging in some equations from Ashby’s Law, filled it up with some cybernetics and Viable System Model fractals. I added a splash of sense-making and a pinch of System Dynamics. Then I started shoving in datasets from economics, politics, sociology, ethnography, and all that jazz. And some actual jazz.”

He also let the AI, which he wrote in COBOL, roam the internet hoovering up data as it saw fit. A little like Google’s crawlers, but instead of looking for text it looked for relationships.

We asked Aubrey what’s inside the algorithm. He replied, “Don’t ask me! It’s an AI. There’s no way to interrogate what it does or how it does it. All I know is that it can solve any complex situation in under eight hours. But it would be quicker if I didn’t have a laptop from 2002.”

We tested it on the Israel–Palestine situation and left it overnight. Sure enough, in the morning, the screen showed us the answer. And, you know, it’s going to resolve the situation and leave everyone happy. Unfortunately, we can’t print the answer here. The instructions to solve the problem told us that if we mention any aspect of the solution in this article then it won’t work. Aubrey has an appointment to read out the instructions to the UN Security Council next week.

When asked for comment, the Santa Fe Institute gave a statement: “We told you this can be solved. We’re off to do some really hard work now. It’ll be something about why, despite the tab in the corner, plastic bacon packaging can’t be peeled open and has to be stabbed with a pair of scissors to get at the contents.”

A prominent complexity practitioner was resigned: “It was on the cards. It’s a relief actually. All that complexity gets to you after a while. And selling some software is much easier than trying to shift people’s mindsets all day, every day. I’ll be glad of the break.”

So what is Aubrey going to work on now? “I might turn to the question of what colour the colour blue is. Or maybe a Grand Unified Theory of Everything. I haven’t decided yet. But I’m going to take a break for a couple of weeks and go and see my mum in Morecambe.

“I bought her some of the biscuits she likes – she misses Abbey Crunch and has to make do with Hobnobs – and they have been sitting in my cupboard and I ought to get them to her before they go soggy.”

When he gets back from his visit, Aubrey said that he was going to code up a smartphone app for solving complexity to be priced at $4.99. “Is that a bit steep?” he asked us. “Do you think I’d sell more if I priced it at say $2.99?” We suggested asking his AI and Aubrey replied, “Oh yeah! Never thought of that.”


(I hope you enjoyed this year’s April Fool. If you did, you might enjoy the one from 2021 about Stafford Beer’s lost book. — Rob Worth)

Lemon photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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