Notice how there are a few things at play here that might influence our judgement.
Though a simple yes/no question, we are dealing with a visible edit of the question. In this digital age it could have just said ‘Are computers having fun’ without any referral to the earlier concept of computers perhaps being smart. Striking through could have just been a deletion. It has now been kept in there and now our brains are parsing through two different questions.
First the question whether you can attribute a quality such as being smart to a computer and then second whether their actions can be categorized as having fun.
What´s the deal with the strikethrough?
The strikethrough shows us there was a different question at first. A question that did not involve whether they were having fun, but if computers are smart. There is asymmetry and entanglement. The asymmetry is easily explained. Iterating through the question until smart gives ‘be’ a linking quality that attributes computers with the adjective smart, while in the second iteration it questions whether they are in possession of fun. An abstract noun that refers to the experience of an emotive state. Or at least under the presumption amusement or enjoyment are emotive states. Fun, on the other hand, is entangled in the possession of an experience and though ‘be’ can link emotive states quite well, you cannot always switch the two. Compare ‘Are computers having quick responses’ to ‘Are computers having fun’ with ‘Are computers smart’ to ‘Are computers amused’?
Smart is in a different ball park from fun. When put in the same utterance you might think they have something in common though.
Are computers smart?
In short yes. I would love to argue the idea they are not, but the current tendency to attribute smart to every innovation on devices as they become quicker and more responsive sounds completely reasonable. Smart in reference to people takes intelligence and mental capability into account. Machines are not mental, but do show quick and ready capabilities. By sheer definition they would categorize as smart.
We might even go into whether they are intelligent, but that is just another idea to work out.
Are they having fun?
Well, see here we get back to the entanglement of fun as this emotive state. Before going into the emotive state and whether we can deny the computer such a thing, lets say if computers can partake in play. According to Huizinga there are a five rules to play with the first being that play is a voluntary activity. For children and animals he argues they enjoy playing and therein lies their freedom and for adults it is done at leisure. Computers are built to perform tasks and as such fail to qualify for this condition. Its second condition and third conditions however might be more favourable to computers as the state that play is not ordinary life and it is distinct from ordinary life both in locality and duration. Play as not ordinary life means it has an element of pretending, something which presupposes consciousness. It can however be overruled by the fluidity of seriousness and play. Imagine you playing against a computer. Its seriousness does not take away your pretending. It seems to be the case computers can play with you. To the extent that condition three the locality and duration of play might be inherent to a computers programming. They can provide the virtual environment for play. The fourth condition might even be more favourable as it states play creates order and is order. Deviating from its order would render the game useless. Computers function entirely rule-based and as such they are always at play. The last condition is that to the game is connected to no material interest and no profit can be gained from it. Now for the latter can be said computers surely gain no profit from play. On the other hand showing interest seems to be the type of emotive state we deny computers. Even then computers do seem to be fairly capable of play. Play with its most significant component fun. If computers are playing, then perhaps they are also having fun.
Maybe computers are more free than we are, because they can have fun more than they can be bored.