Scientists at the University of Edinburgh designed the first ever computer capable of producing jokes on command. Only problem: their PC wasn’t so PC. Following the lead of successful, male comedians, the software was programed to make a statement followed by an unexpected comment. The computer’s algorithm finds unlikely word pairings and makes a connection between them in the form of a one-liner. David Matthews (a computer scientist who helped develop the virtual joke maker, not the guy with the same name who fronts the band) said when they tested the jokes on volunteers — wonderful witticisms such as: “I like my men like I like my court … superior” and “I like my women like I like my gas … natural” — they laughed, but not as much as if a real comedian were delivering the sexist joke. Obviously.
“Computers have an advantage over people in that they can process masses of information, so we fed computers a wealth of material from which they extracted creative and unusual word combinations to fit our joke template.The holy grail for machine-generated comedy would be to include cultural references, but these are very hard to capture,” said Matthews.
I like my computers like I like my comedy … culturally sensitive. [Telegraph UK]
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