Is Ben Hafen Still Human?

Benjamin Hafen is the lead programmer for WordUp and he is doing a great job, but the strange thing about Ben is, though we have all spent hours talking to him, no one on the team has ever seen him, except for Jordan, and I think I know why.

The Known Truths

The official story is that Ben’s computer does not have a camera. During our regular Skype meetings, we do not see him, but we hear his perfectly modulated and flawlessly articulate baritone voice, kind of like HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Despite his mysterious nature, some truths about Ben are undeniable. These facts have been substantiated by several witnesses and his facebook profile. Here are the well-known facts about Ben:

Ben is quite accomplished for someone in his early 20s. He began programing games at the age of 11. He was a huge Nintendo nerd, and he now owns 860 of the 910 Super Nintendo games ever made. Even though Ben has the analytical mind of a programmer, he is still an artist at heart. Ben has written two novels, so it makes sense that he was chosen to be Stranded on Babel’s original scriptwriter. Ben speaks Mandarin fluently, and he has been learning Japanese on his own time. He goes on trips to Asia two or three times every year to explore on his own. Despite being elusive, is great to work with. His coworkers have said things like…

Ben Hafen sighting

The authenticity of this rare photo is a source of controversy.

“Despite being my most introverted friend he’s also one of the most skilled at working with people.”

-Jordan Clive

“He’s very easy to work with. He takes suggestions without ego. He gives insightful suggestions in the most positive, considerate way.”

-Trevor Clive

“He’s a great guy, he puts a lot of effort into writing and explaining everything.”

-Camila Gormaz

“He knows everything about games.”

-Felipe Goldsack

The Hidden Truth

So that’s the official story, but increasing evidence proves it is not the complete story. The time has come for the truth to be revealed: Ben is not really a human being, well, not anymore. After gathering much data on Ben, we had an expert artist draw a picture of what Ben probably looks like:
Ben portrait

It does not make sense that one with Ben’s programming skill would use a keyboard. Keyboards are a clumsy barrier between thought and computer code. We are certain that he uses wires plugged into his prefrontal cortex, as pictured. Ben’s impeccable manners and self-control require a constant supply of dopaminergic input through his forehead and into frontal lobe and substantia nigra. Ben’s vast knowledge of video games is stored in several glowing artificial brains in jars. The last wire, going into the top of his head, is an external supply of neurotransmitters and lightning bolts, to constantly fuel his creative and analytical brain centers.

There is one more brain wire in the illustration, but it is just ridiculous and unrealistic. I don’t know what the illustrator was thinking. He is not as talented as Camila Gormaz.

Ben's brain anatomy

Ben does not have time for nonsense or mundane activities, therefore, we can conclude that his meals must come from a chest tube, his physical fitness must be provided by a futuristic body suit with pink and purple glowing thingies, and he must have robot spiders with laser eyes to vaporize anyone who might disturb him.

Ben portrait features

If people knew the full truth about Ben, that he is more machine than man, would they feel comfortable working with him, or would they be frightened? Jordan Clive seems to believe people would be frightened, which is why he keeps Ben’s secret.

Hard Questions

At some point you have to wonder: is the entity we call “Ben” still human? Is Ben the next step in evolution? Is Ben here to bridge the gap between man and machine? Does Ben still have human emotions?

What do you guys think?

-Trevor Clive, Frightened Creative Director

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