by Alan Robles
An Artificial Intelligence (AI) program designed to analyze the mid-term elections keeps bursting into hysterical laughter, its designer complained yesterday.
According to Isidro Maytinola, his Total Election Comprehension and Analysis Just For You (TECAJFY) computer program suddenly started emitting sounds of "clearly mocking hilarity" shortly after it was fed a lot of data about the May 13 polls.
He explained the TECAJFY was supposed to collate, synthesize and analyze all information related to the election and national political culture and then display answers to specific questions.
The problem, Maytinola said, is that "while the program answers questions, it keeps making those nasty laughing sounds afterwards."
"For instance, when I asked it, 'who will win the Senate elections?', it said YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE. This was followed by five seconds of hooting sounds."
"Then," Maytinola said, "when I asked, 'who will lose the Senate election?', it replied THE PHILIPPINES. And then the computer laughed for 10 straight seconds. I mean, seriously, what kind of answer is that?
"The thing is, I wasn't even aware it had an audio subroutine," the puzzled designer said.
Maytinola said he had hoped the sophisticated AI would help people understand what goes on in a typical Philippine election but, apart from the mocking laughter it emits, the AI tends to give baffling answers.
"When I asked the AI, 'are political dynasties good or are they bad?', it said YES."
He recalled that he had also asked the AI what role debates play in the success of a senatorial candidate.
"All I got was five minutes of non-stop shrieking laughter. It seemed to say something that sounded like ANO SA TINGIN MO GAGO, but I'm not sure. "
The programmer revealed that he had asked the AI one of the questions many people want to know: how did a totally unknown person such as the vice president's daughter, Nancy Binay, become a high-placing contender for a Senate position?
"I asked it to list the factors that were the secret to Nancy Binay's campaign and it just displayed four words: GATORADE, MOTORCADE, PAPA'S AID."
He added, "needless to say, this was immediately followed by more of that annoying shrieking laughter."
Then, the programmer revealed, "I asked the AI to explain the best way to win the election. It replied BE KRIS AQUINO."
The designer said he did not know what caused the AI to behave in such a way.
"It could be a glitch. Or a program loop. Or maybe the AI is just being a smartass."
Said Maytinola: "If this computer program turns out to be deeply flawed, dubious and unreliable, it will leave me no choice.
"I might just sell it to Comelec."