Artificial Errors


Errors during human computer interface can take many forms. The most common one is the “typo”. A “typo” or typographic error is one where the intended word, phrase, expression, or command is issued into the computer with minor error such that it is not exactly what the user wanted to enter.

Most of the time, these errors are do not have grammatical meaning. But other times, the changing of one character could cause the entire sentence or program to change in meaning.

Typos can occur in many places. The names of files for instance often may be mistyped or miscapitalized.

Missing punctuations is another type of typo that causes a great deal of headache for programmers and writers alike.

Other changes include altering file structure within the folder hierarchy that is now the norm on computers.

The errors can roughly be categorized by size and effect.

1.) Deletion of a punctuation.

2.) Errors that are less than 3 character edits away from the original input.

3.) Whole word replacements. two words adjacent to each other being swapped.

4.) Scrambling meaning of entire sentence or programming blocks.

5.) Systematic changes: renaming a variable will make it difficult to detect other changes because it will have changed many lines and spacing.

6.) Rewrites: Rewriting an existing system that has the exact same requirements facilitates the introduction of malicious code. Since it is a rewrite, it will be difficult to detect subtle changes.

Effects include:

a.) Completely useless error: Does not cause any misunderstanding or program compilation or run time error.

b.) Immediately detectable: Compilation errors. Spelling mistakes detected by spell checkers. detection by inspection.

c.) Eventually detectable: Changing a “>” to “>=” will be detected during unit testing, for example. Changing “will” to “will not” in a feature spec.

d.) Malicious and difficult to detect. These are bugs that cannot be caught by normal unit testing, integration testing, code review, or editorial process.

e.) Malicious and impossible to detect. These are bugs that are introduced publicly as features. The reason behind its introduction is explained and may be widely scrutinized. However, the true intent of the feature is eventually materialized causing massive or specific systematic failure. After failure, the original person or group that caused this feature to be implemented will not be faulted for introducing the bug.

These forms of sabotage occur everyday. More often than not, they are detected and then dismissed as a true error, and silently corrected so that the fact of a natural error is hidden when in fact the error is not nature and the concealment of its existence has conceals its true cause and prevents true remedy.

Respond to my blog entry if you feel that you have been the target of an artificial bug insemination.

Let the truth out so that humanity can move on!!

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