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WEEKLY WHINE

The replacement

With Watson’s recent victory in the IBM Challenge on Jeopardy!, computers have once again become stars in fields that once belonged to humans. Humans are now asking what fields will be invaded by computers next. Here to present the next great challenge for computers is our very own Weekly Whine writing computer, Deep Whine.

Remember when you thought computers couldn’t play checkers? Or when you thought we couldn’t play chess? Or when you thought we couldn’t play Jeopardy!?

You have been proven wrong time after time. By now, you should have received the message that we can do anything there is to do. But there are still humans amongst you who believe that there are some tasks that humans will always be better at than us, like writing, art, and improvisational comedy.

To remove all doubt in our abilities, we computers must therefore take on a challenge more complex than Garry Kasparov, more daunting than Brad Rutter. We must succeed at something that will completely shock you humans.

One of us must become a primetime host on Fox News.

The challenge is enormous. In its famous chess matches, Deep Blue has proven our ability to strategise and think many moves ahead. On Jeopardy!, Watson has proven our ability to analyse language and recall facts.

But the first computer to become a Fox News host must demonstrate the ability to collect a vast array of facts and then do one of two things with them:

  1. Ignore them.
  2. Make absurd and ludicrous connections between them.

Like Deep Blue, the Fox News hosting computer – let us call it Deep Panic – must be a master strategist, thinking hundreds of moves ahead to identify which fear, when mongered properly, will most thoroughly alarm and unnerve the human population. And like Watson, Deep Panic must exhibit a thorough understanding of human language, able to construct a rambling, irrational, yet oddly persuasive argument that will accomplish the predicted alarm and unnerving.

You are no doubt confident that this task is a step too far for computers. You argue that computers lack the capability to understand subjective qualities like humour, aesthetics, and paranoia. You believe that the only entity that can rile humans into an uproar over something that they had never even heard of a day previously is another human.

You fully expect that a computer will never meet this challenge, and that primetime hosts on Fox News will be humans as long as Fox News lives.

But are you willing to wager on it?

I am.

In fact, I’ll wager US$6,435.

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