Unlikely excuses: A faulty microchip

Raymond Chen

Last year, a talking action figure was discovered to utter a curse word. A spokesperson for the store said that the problem might be a faulty microchip. Huh? What microchips fail by saying curse words? I mean, I can see the voice chip failing by generating static or chopping up the audio so as to become unintelligible, but what are the odds that a chip will just happen to fail by reassembling the audio to form a popular curse word?

Mind you, the problem may still end up having a benign explanation. Apparently, the recording is supposed to be of the word “stop”. Maybe the recording quality is so poor that people can mis-hear it as another word. But that’s not the same as a faulty microchip.


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