Artificial humour?!

The question of the existance of some kind of artificial humour (AH) in IT systems plagues the researchers at MIG for days now. The effect was first observed at the races for the Bernd-August-Trophy in Hannover on May 11, 2019, when in the third heat just a horse of the TÜV NORD refused to run. Was it a technical defect? Or a first sign of AH?

The episode was almost forgotten, when on 6 June – less than 4 weeks after the race in Hannover – a horse called “Elektrogaul” (Electric Nag) failed at the starting box of the second qualifying race to the Matjes Grand Prix in Hamburg. Was the battery empty? Or did someone pull the plug? The experts at MIG rather mean: That can not be a coincidence. Another indication of the existence of artificial humour!

Electric nag (on the top) at the start of the race. Very funny!

Basically, this raises the question of whether computers have a sense of humour and decide in each situation what they think is funny. But where is the AH hiding? In the hardware? In the operating system? In the application? Or do the components think up the pranks together? An MIG researcher says that he recently heard something giggling under the keyboard, but that is not certain.

After the conspicuous accumulation of such incidents in GaloppSim (version 149.19SIT and 149.19GMP) the source code was analysed line by line, but no hints were found that the programmers force failures of certain horses. The code is formulated abolutely neutral with a start refusal probability of 1: 100 for each horse:

'Set the number of running horses equal to the number of starters
m_intHorsesRunning = objRace.NUMBER_STARTING
'One out of 100 refuses to run (if activated in the race options)
If objOption.REFUSE_RUN Then
    Dim intRefuse As Integer
    For i = 1 To UBound(g_arr_varHorses)
        If g_arr_varHorses(i, 0) = "START" Then
            intRefuse = Int((99 - 0 + 1) * Rnd + 0) 'Random number between 0 and 99
            If intRefuse = 0 Then
                g_arr_varHorses(i, 0) = "REFUSED"
                m_intHorsesRunning = m_intHorsesRunning - 1
            End If
        End If
    Next i
End If

Research into artificial humour has only just begun after these discoveries, and apart from its core expertise in horse racing simulation, MIG has a keen interest in becoming a world leader in humour as well 🙂

Updated June 16, 2019: It happened again. In the fourth qualification race for the Matjes Grand Prix a horse called “IboProfen” finished on the very last place. It looked tired and sluggish from the start on and has reached the finish only with the utmost effort..

IbuProfen also arrives in the finish sometime.

Updated June 24, 2019: The artificial humour seems to be evolving. It becomes more subtle and contains now also insider jokes. Many users of the SAP SolMan often complain about the speed performance of the system, but objectively it is by far the fastest 😉

Where are the others? SolMan is waiting at the finish.