A wife asks her programmer husband, “Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6.”
A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk.
The wife asks him, “Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?”
He replied, “They had eggs.”
Although the human in me totally understands, the computer programmer has to laugh.
Some poor coder at United Airlines has to store some kind of ‘offensive integers’ array, and make sure the flight tracking system never uses 93 or 175 again. Clearly, these integers had not been triggering negative emotions for the computers, remaining completely serviceable as flight numbers. But oh, no… these won’t work for people anymore.
Much of software development is the digital abstraction of distinctly human thought processes. Stories like this make you wonder how many cycles we burn just trying to avoid the buggy backwaters of our emotions. Clearly we lose efficiencies along the way.