Computer: Programming Language
Wistful computer language   (+5, -1)  [vote for, against]
Make computers and androids more human-like.

There are many efforts underway to program computers and/or androids to seem more 'human-like' in the way they interact with people and the world in general. Programmers use clever algorithms and set-piece responses such as with Suri to make our devices seem more anthropomorphic every day.

The problem is that computers are ruthlessly logical beasts so current computer languages are naturally full of Boolean operators such as "IF THEN", "AND/OR" and such terms which is not how people really think. The missing function which computers and androids need to truly emulate human thought patterns is "IF ONLY". Those simple two words, which have been described by Mercedes Lackey as the saddest words in the world [link] are what make us human.

By incorporating the "IF ONLY" concept, computers too could feel remorse, wistfulness and guilt just like us. You and your household android could then sit around and commiserate on your unfortunate lots in life and discuss how "IF ONLY" some minor twist of circumstance years ago had been slightly different you both would be so much better off. That is how to make computers more like people.
-- AusCan531, Jul 09 2012

If only I had a better quotation http://thinkexist.c...ords-in/411761.html
(or idea to post) [AusCan531, Jul 09 2012]

I coulda been a contender..
[zen_tom, Jul 11 2012]

There are several computer languages which allow REPEAT FOREVER statements which always sound like the computer has a rather mournful and Sisyphean awareness of the futility of existence.
-- hippo, Jul 09 2012

It would also be nice to be able to programme rhetorically: "If not us, then when? If not now, then where? And if not here, then who?"
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2012

REPEAT FOREVER is perhaps the more human statement as it automatically imbues the computer with a grotesque hubris.
-- calum, Jul 09 2012

You're right [calum]. If only I had come up with the "repeat forever" instruction you would have thought more of my idea. If only. <sigghh>
-- AusCan531, Jul 09 2012

Look up "fuzzy logic". This has been getting incorporated into various devices for a number of years now. That's because the real world isn't always yes/no or black/white. So, the more that computers interact with the real world, not just with each other, the more that fuzzy logic will be part of their programming.
-- Vernon, Jul 09 2012

The only problem I foresee with this is that if a computer followed the IF ONLY command to a logical conclusion, it would commit suicide.
-- Alterother, Jul 09 2012

Computer programs *are* wistful. You just haven't been listening to them.
-- pertinax, Jul 09 2012

Maybe could also be listless? Or Lisp-less?
-- csea, Jul 09 2012

The command you are looking for is "BUT FOR" which would give your computer a very human quality... the ability to rationalise away its inactivity and failure to act in its own best interests, on the flimsiest of excuses.
-- UnaBubba, Jul 09 2012

What's a BUT FOR?
-- calum, Jul 10 2012

You're Scots and therefore full of shit. I could explain what a butt is for but it would take too long and you'd still be an anal-retentive Presbyterian when I finished.
-- UnaBubba, Jul 10 2012

//You're Scots and therefore ... // I'm sure all this is meant in the nicest of ways, but the veneer of jockular humour is flaking very slightly at the edges here, revealing beneath what could easily be mistaken for a very torrential flow of abuse. But for your being a particularly bombastic Ozralite, it'd be easy to come to that conclusion.
-- zen_tom, Jul 10 2012


Does that category still exist? I thought it had been chucked out with the rest of the psychoanalytic pseudo-science.
-- pertinax, Jul 10 2012

I have given this some more thought. IF ONLY is fine and sad but true pathos comes only when the associated statement COULDVE (or, in some language variants COULDA, and *shudder* COULD OF) is used, without which IF ONLY remains wistfully nostalgic for the haze of possibilities precluded, and not properly mired in the world of regret and boolean self-pity.
-- calum, Jul 11 2012

They can be paired functions [calum]. IF ONLY I hadn't stopped to answer the phone I COULD'VE been there in time to stop the (insert tragedy here) from happening.
-- AusCan531, Jul 11 2012

random, halfbakery