A few years ago, a man set himself the following challenge: determining the most boring day in history. In fact, the data at his disposal concerned human history from 1900 to the early 2000s. That said, he still succeeded in his challenge.
In 2010, William Tunstall-Pedoe, professor of political science at the University of Cambridge, launched a computer analysis of more than 300 million facts, carried out by a search engine called True Knowledge which he had invented.
Unlike a “traditional” search engine, which statistically finds relevant web pages using keywords, True Knowledge was able to “understand” the stored information, and produce direct answers to questions. For example, you could use True Knowledge to try to answer questions such as: who was born on May 3, 1983? Who died on January 16, 2001? Or what happened on April 3, 2006?
Today, this search engine no longer exists. It has since been transformed into a voice recognition system (Evi Technologies) before finally being sold to Amazon to power its personal assistant Alexa.
That being said, it had occurred to William Tunstall-Pedoe that with so much information, a large percentage of which relates events, people and places to specific times, he could find an objective answer to the question. next question: what was the most boring day in history?
April 11, 1954, the most “boring day in history”
Of course, boring isn’t the most objective term we could use. By “boring”, hear the day not much interesting happened. Some candidates quickly emerged, such as April 18, 1930. At the time the BBC, at the time of sharing information, had indeed announced that there was “no news”, before play piano music for the next fifteen minutes.
Finally, Tunstall-Pedoe’s analysis turned to the April 11, 1954. Many famous people have been born, many have passed away as well, and many other things have happened every day in a hundred years. But on this day of April 11, 1954, almost nothing happened.
The only notable events noted by the algorithm were the death of Oldham Athletic footballer Jack Shufflebotham and the birth of Turkish academic Abdullah Atalar. On that day, the Socialist Party also won the elections in Belgium.
“The irony is that, after doing the math, this day is now interesting because it is exceptionally boring”, then wrote Tunstall-Pedoe in a item Blog.