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Tech Funny: Happy St. Patrick's AI

Joe Stanganelli Managing Editor, TechBeacon
Photo by Magdalena Smolnicka on Unsplash

Candidly, St. Patrick's Day isn't my favorite holiday. As an Italian-American, I prefer my name day, St. Joseph's Day (March 19)—which doesn't have quite the same brand recognition in the States. Also, I'm not much for drinking, which seems to be the primary way of American celebration of the holiday.

So I wasn't really feeling the vibe for a St. Patrick's Day-themed TechBeacon article this week.

Meanwhile, I noticed that the top-trending article on TechBeacon was (and still is, as of press time) a neat think piece that Matthew Heusser wrote for us about generative AI: "ChatGPT and the State of AI." (This is the same piece I highlighted in a recent TechBeacon roundup of our best AI articles.)

That gave me an idea. I decided to try to outsource TechBeacon's St. Patrick's Day article to generative AI.

I chose Bing AI (partly because ChatGPT has already gotten the lion's share of generative-AI attention, and partly because OpenAI requires a phone number to use ChatGPT—and I'm too privacy-sensitive to hand it over), which I had recently been granted access to. And I decided to keep things simple and light, asking Bing AI to come up with several jokes and other funny tidbits about TechBeacon's coverage areas—all with a St. Patrick's Day twist.

I threw out the worst ones, the non sequiturs, and the ones that weren't entirely accurate. (I don't particularly fault Bing AI for those; ask some humans to come up with St. Patrick's Day jokes about enterprise technology on the spot and see how they do.) Then, to spread the culpability, er, holiday joy around, I asked managing editor Achmad Chadran to join me in weighing in on Bing AI's joke-telling. Below each AI-generated joke are our responses and scoring (out of 10).

Putting the "AI" in "Mainframe"

A few were okay but did not entirely follow the instructions. Here's an example of Bing AI forgetting about the "St. Patrick's Day" part:

Why did the mainframe cross the road?

To get to the other CICS (Customer Information Control System).

ACHMAD: Bing dropped the ball on St. Paddy's Day, but this is cute in a surrealist way. This feels like a 7/10 to me.

JOE: I haven't come across anyone who pronounces CICS "psychs," but that's good enough, I suppose. Points off for failing to follow instructions. 5/10.

Asked for more St. Patrick's Day jokes about mainframes, Bing AI gave me this decent enough tickler:

What do you get when you mix a mainframe and a leprechaun?

A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow table.

ACHMAD: This is impressive. I can only imagine all the different associations Bing AI needed to iterate before landing this one. 8/10.

JOE: It's not exactly of the ROFLMAO variety, but I'd call that pretty solidly constructed. 6.5/10.

While we were on the mainframe theme, I asked for a joke about COBOL. Bing AI did not disappoint.

An Irishman walks into a bar and orders a pint of Guinness. He notices a man sitting next to him with a laptop and asks him what he is doing. The man says he is writing a program in COBOL.

The Irishman says, "COBOL? That’s an old language. Why don’t you use something more modern?"

The man says, "I like COBOL. It’s simple and reliable."

The Irishman says, "Simple and reliable? That’s like saying Guinness is light and refreshing."

ACHMAD: Okay, though kind of generic. Still, quite impressive that Bing AI connected COBOL's reputation with this formula joke. 7/10.

JOE: Look, we love COBOL here at TechBeacon, but it's hard to find much fault with this. 8/10.

Next, I wanted to get more specific, so I asked Bing AI for a joke about COBOL and St. Patrick.

St. Patrick was driving his car on a country road in Ireland when he saw a sign that said, "COBOL Programming School." He decided to stop and check it out. He entered the building and saw a classroom full of students typing on old computers. He asked the teacher what they were doing. The teacher said they were learning COBOL, the most powerful and versatile programming language in the world.

St. Patrick said, "COBOL? That’s an ancient language. Why don’t you teach them something more modern?"

The teacher said, "I like COBOL. It’s easy and efficient."

St. Patrick said, "Easy and efficient? That’s like saying snakes are cuddly and friendly."

ACHMAD: Essentially the same joke as the previous COBOL one. Between the two I prefer the Guinness version. 5/10.

JOE: This joke ticks me off. What, did you think I wouldn't notice you basically recycled the exact same COBOL joke from the immediately preceding request, Bing? Do you think so little of us humans? In fact, this joke is arguably worse. Why is St. Patrick pulling off the road to check out a COBOL school in the first place? Just to interrupt the teacher's class and rip on everyone's professional-development choices? What a jerk! I mean, hey, kudos for the richness of having a fifth-century missionary call COBOL "ancient" (sick burn, amirite?)—but otherwise, this one is a letdown. 3.75/10.

DevOps Dialogue

So, okay, that's enough mainframe ribbing for St. Patrick's Day. Deciding to shift gears, I asked Bing AI, "What about a joke about DevOps and leprechauns?"

A DevOps engineer was walking in the woods when he saw a leprechaun sitting on a mushroom. He decided to catch it and ask for a wish. He ran towards the leprechaun and grabbed it by the collar. The leprechaun said, "Let me go, let me go! I’ll grant you one wish if you do!"

The DevOps engineer said, "I wish for a faster and more reliable deployment pipeline."

The leprechaun said, "That’s a tough one. How about a pot of gold instead?"

The DevOps engineer said, "No, thanks. I already have enough technical debt."

ACHMAD: This one's comedic gold! 10/10.

JOE: Okay, that's clever. And I appreciate the setup gag that points out that it is indeed tough to develop a fast and reliable deployment pipeline. 7.5/10.

I wanted more DevOps humor, so I asked for a more generic St. Patrick's Day joke. Here's Bing AI's chaser:

What do you call a DevOps engineer who drinks too much Guinness?

A DevOops engineer.

ACHMAD: Pretty good. Nice pairing of St Paddy's theme and punning. 7/10.

JOE: Simple. Elegant. Funny. "Guinness" is a gratuitous add-on here that exists only to hammer this into the St. Patrick's Day hole. Otherwise, what more could you want? 9.5/10.

Sysadmin Semantics

I missed the leprechaun theme, so I brought it back—asking for a joke about a leprechaun and a sysadmin.

What do you get when you cross a leprechaun and a sysadmin?

A sysadmin.


JOE: I adore a good anti-joke, but this one didn't entirely hit it for me. 7/10.

Not satisfied as much as Achmad was, I asked for more of the same.

What do you get when you cross a leprechaun and a sysadmin?

A lucky charm who can fix your computer problems.


JOE: Okay, adequate. Still, I'm not impressed. 5.5/10.

A Pot of Governance Gold

That was enough sysadmin humor for me. For its next St. Patrick's Day joke, I asked Bing AI to combine leprechauns with PCI-DSS.

How did the leprechaun pass the PCI-DSS audit?

He used his pot of gold to bribe the assessor.

ACHMAD: Okay, kinda cute. 6/10.

JOE: Microsoft clearly understands the real-world intricacies of effective GRC strategy. 8/10.

Putting the Disordered "AI" in "Bias"

I decided to get meta; I asked Bing AI for a St. Patrick's Day joke about bias in AI.

What did the AI system say when it saw a rainbow?

"I don’t see any colors; I’m color blind!"

ACHMAD: If only, right? Given the continuing concerns about bias in AI, I expect this to generate a comment or two. 8/10.

JOE: Not very LOL, but otherwise solidly constructed. 7/10.

Limerick Logic

This was getting old. I decided to shake things up a bit on the St. Patrick's Day front and start asking for limericks—which I've long been delighted by. First, I asked for one about app modernization:

There once was an app that was old
It ran on a server so cold
But then it was moved
To the cloud and improved
Now it's agile and fast and bold

ACHMAD: Corny and maybe a bit obvious, but it carries the water. 10/10.

JOE: Very well-constructed and scans nearly perfectly, but boring and devoid of the cleverness typical of truly great limericks. 7/10.

Deciding to get meta again, I next asked for "a limerick about generative AI (e.g., ChatGPT, Bing AI)." Here's what Bing AI came up with:

There once was a software called ChatGPT
It could write anything from a tweet to a script
But sometimes it would fail
Or go off the rails
And produce something that made no sense

ACHMAD: Diverges mildly from the traditional format, but witty nonetheless, especially for a bot. 7/10.

JOE: The meta humor here is thick enough to cut with a knife, and I'm delighting in Bing AI's ability to throw shade. (Granted, Bing AI probably legitimately thought—so to speak—that "ChatGPT" is pronounced to rhyme with "script," but it's a fantastic accident that fits well with the deliberate imperfections.) 9/10.

I followed up with a request for a limerick about ransomware.

There once was a lady from Rome
Who opened an email at home
She saw a demand
For some bitcoins in hand
And now she can’t access her phone

ACHMAD: Clever turn of a classic format. 10/10.

JOE: This is just about everything I want out of a (G-rated) limerick. 10/10.

And then I brought things back full circle with another meta request: a limerick about COBOL—written in COBOL.

ACHMAD: This is so geeky it's lovable. 10/10.

JOE: Well done. Bing AI understood the assignment. Points off for some scansion failures. 8/10.

AI at a Picnic

There's one more joke that I felt worth sharing. Going for broke, I asked Bing AI, "How about a joke about a leprechaun, St. Patrick, and a cybersecurity analyst?"

Bing AI went for it.

A leprechaun, St. Patrick, and a cybersecurity analyst are having a picnic in a park. The leprechaun brings a basket of shamrocks, St. Patrick brings a basket of snakes, and the cybersecurity analyst brings a laptop. They sit down on a blanket and start to enjoy their food.

The leprechaun says, "Shamrocks are the best. They bring good luck and happiness."

St. Patrick says, "Snakes are the best. They are wise and cunning."

The cybersecurity analyst says, "Laptops are the best. They are powerful and versatile."

The leprechaun says, "Let’s have a contest. Whoever can make the best use of their item wins."

St. Patrick says, "That sounds fun. I’ll go first."

He takes out a snake and wraps it around his arm like a bracelet. He says, "Look how stylish and elegant this is."

The leprechaun says, "That’s nice, but I can do better. "He takes out a shamrock and puts it on his hat like a badge. He says, "Look how charming and festive this is."

The cybersecurity analyst says, "That’s cute, but I can do better." He opens his laptop and types in a few commands. He says, "Look how useful and practical this is." He points to the sky and they see a drone flying overhead with a banner that says, "Happy St. Patrick’s Day!"

ACHMAD: Mostly just silly. Overly long setup for the fatuous punchline. 5/10.

JOE: Okay, look, there are lots of flaws here.

  1. Why did they bring these things to a picnic in baskets? Just because they like to travel with them? Or were they also intending to eat them? Maybe I'm being silly, but this seems a bit odd.
  2. The joke fundamentally relies on false equivalencies.
  3. What is St. Patrick doing with a basket full of snakes? And why is he praising them? That would be like Joan Crawford bringing a basketful of wire hangers to a picnic and calling them stylish.
  4. Did the cybersecurity analyst hack a military drone that just so happened to have a "Happy St. Patrick's Day" banner attached? Or is it his own drone (or one that he has legitimate access to) that he had prepared just for the occasion? If the former, it's a bit oddly convenient. If the latter, then his thing has nothing to do with cybersecurity except insofar as both are related to computer networking.
  5. It's just not that funny.

But it put a smile on my face, and it's a great St. Patrick's Day joke to go out on. 11/10. Happy St. Patrick's Day, indeed!

(Happy St. Joseph's Day too!)

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