When Alice Met Bob

The night before last, I had a dream that O’Reilly Media were making a Hollywood film — a romantic comedy, to be exact — about public key cryptography. The lead characters were called Alice and Bob, and they met cute by bumping into each other on the street and dropping the USB thumbdrives that had their private keys on them.

I’m suspect you could actually make a good story out of this, albeit a bit of an over-didactic Doctorow/Stephenson-esque one, since you’d have to ram in quite a lot of techno-cultural exposition along the way if you wanted it to make any sense at all.

6 thoughts on “When Alice Met Bob

  • kd

    Love it. When are you giving the pitch? Could add in a bit about the futility of DRM by introducing Bob’s alter-ego Chuck or something.

  • nmjk

    I would *absolutely* watch this romantic comedy. Makes me think a bit of a Rudy Rucker book, in addition to the authors you cited, but all three tend to have [a bit of] a heavy side to them, whereas a romcom on this premise could, I think, be done with a light touch, dodging at least some of the techno-exposition. Perhaps a comedy of missed-connection and misguided/incorrect tertiary interest in the form of Carol?/Chuck?

    The tricky part would be to avoid recasting one of the same-ol’ romcom premises with crypto flavour.

  • Skud Post author

    nmjk: one of the things that bugs me about rom coms generally is how simply the problems in them could be solved by some pretty basic communication. (Sort of like the old BtVS plots that made me shout WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A CELLPHONE at the television.) Anyway, it occurs to me that a crypto rom com would either offer opportunities for failed communication, or for fixing that tired old trope.

  • nmjk

    That failed communication thing bugs me a lot, too. I have often found myself thinking, “If these misunderstandings are so easy at this stage, y’all are going to have some pretty big communication issues if you somehow manage to start this relationship.”

    The trouble, of course, is that a story has to have some sort of conflict, or problem to resolve, and if crypto makes communication so much clearer and resolves that overused trope, there would still have to be something for the characters to contend with. Maybe this relationship is one of unknown-but-unequivocal identity? I recently watched a movie called “Sidewalls” (Argentina) where the two characters never did actually meet; the movie seemed content to set up their parallel lives and seemingly compatible motivations, without the conventional payoff.

    Anyway, lots of interesting possibilities, and such a fascinating idea. :)

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