One day, in line at the cafeteria, Bob says to Stanley, “My elbow hurts like crazy. I guess I’d better see a doctor.”
“Listen, Bob, you don’t have to spend that kind of money,” Stan replies. “There’s a diagnostic computer down at Walmart. Just give it a urine sample and the computer will tell you what’s wrong and what to do about it. It takes ten seconds and costs ten dollars… a lot cheaper than a doctor.”
So, Bob fills a small jar with his urine and takes it to Walmart. He deposits ten dollars, and the computer lights up and asks for the urine sample. He pours the sample into the slot and waits. Ten seconds later, the computer ejects a printout: “You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water and avoid heavy activity. It will improve in two weeks. Here is a doctor’s certificate for your employer.”
That evening, while thinking how amazing this new technology was, Bob began wondering if the computer could be fooled. He mixed some tap water, a urine sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter, and some water out of his favorite fishing hole, just for good measure.
He then went back to Walmart, eager to test the computer. He deposits ten dollars, pours in his concoction, and waits.
In ten seconds the computer prints the following: “1. Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. 2. Your dog has ringworm. Bathe him with anti-fungal shampoo. 3. Your daughter has a cocaine habit. Get her into rehab. 4. Your wife is pregnant