Monday, 19 May 2014

"Vengeance is Mine," Said The Computer Programmer

It's all in the title isn't it?

Actually, what I'm thinking about isn't THAT dramatic. I was reading a study embarked upon by 'associates of Princeton' which could mean just about anything, what with me being a sceptic, but nevertheless it was diverting, and I thought I'd pass it on.

I think there needs to be rules:

Rule #1: Never take part in an experiment in any area of psychology. You're not going to come out well. I don't care if the data is randomised and anonymised: you're still not going to feel good. 

There may be other rules. We'll see.

So this random population of poor students get to play puzzle games against an opponent at 10cents a pop. At the end of the session, the money is to be divided out. I think remembering how, is probably important, but I'm going to carry on even though I've forgotten, and go back to check if I can't wing it.

Rule #2: Never be afraid to wing it if there's no chance of being caught out. Otherwise, Don't. 

What the poor students don't know, because they aren't told, is that their 'opponent' is actually a computer that is programmed to lose. I think computers HAVE to be programmed to lose, otherwise they don't, but I'm a little hazy on this, and am open to correction. 

Rule #3: Always own up to ignorance. It doesn't make you a better person, but it does make you look less stupid in the long-run.

Well anyway, the computer is programmed to ALWAYS ask for an equal share of the bounty, even though it has lost, every time, by just one point. We're not having this are we? It may only be a matter of a few cents, but fair's fair. The guy lost and isn't going to get half, no matter what. 

Rule #4: If you must be hauled in by the Psychology Department to do research, always be nice. It fucks up the data, and this is ALWAYS a good thing. 

Moving on. The real human being protests the opponobot's lack of realism, and the opponobot responds in one of three ways.

1. Carries on insisting on half the booty.
2. Admits it may have been a little over-ambitious in its demands
3.Admits its being a jerk and promises to mend its ways. 

Guess what? The real live human being gets absolutely no satisfaction from responses one and two, and carries on wishing opponent in Hades, whilst to response number three, feels the milk of human kindness flowing  again, and is willing to forgive and forget. 


Rule #5 Watch yourself. If you want to ingratiate yourself with a real human being, do sorry as well as be it. Or, don't mess with robots. They don't know nothing about anything when it comes to playing fair.

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