I remember being very young and playing quiz games on one of the earliest versions of Windows, and writing curse words for answers, because I didn’t know how feudal systems worked back then, and I wasn’t afraid of the 8-bit host punishing me. Then I remember when cursing really came into its own in video games, and it was almost liberating to hear these naughty words coming out of these wooden voiceover actors. Well, we’ve come to a point in society where it ain’t worth fussin’ over cussin’ for most people, but general tact remains. Thus, we can’t go letting our computers call all the women “slut sausage,” now can we?
IBM research scientist Eric Brown is the creator of the supercomputer Watson, the ever-learning electro-genius that stomped a mudhole in Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter’s behinds on Jeapordy!; or should I say “asses?” It turns out Watson’s language lessons in Urban Dictionary didn’t drill home only the casual slang as Brown may have hoped, and the computer was unable to distinguish slang from profanity. Talk about a real Android Dice Clay, am I right? Well, if he looked like a person, I would be.
If you’ve ever gotten lost in the verbal wormhole that is Urban Dictionary, you’ll agree that the line between vile and hilarious is thinner than a beer hymen. So obviously Watson is going to learn a few things beyond his years and act a little strange, maybe locking himself in his room and playing The Pixies at high volume. But the final straw came when, in response to a researcher’s question, Watson replied, “Bullshit.” In response, Brown’s team added a swear filter to Watson by washing its hard drive out with a bar of soap, and the entirety of the Urban Dictionary learning was deleted. Me, I’d like to know if the researcher really was talking bullshit, and maybe that’s what got everyone so angry.
All in all, I’d say the team was lucky Watson didn’t mention anything about cumchucking after being on the receiving end of a hot Karl. Since the IBM team now knows this kind of result can happen, is it completely out of the question for Brown to temporarily “teach” Watson a YouTube clip compilation of Samuel L. Jackson’s best uses of the word “motherfucker?” Namely, all of them. There are many, many slang dictionaries out there that don’t refer to dirtypennies and jazzcaskets, so perhaps Watson could start there, and work his way up to a George Carlin routine.