Skip to comments.Ctrl + Alt + Del if you've heard this one before (AI program understands simple jokes)
Posted on 08/01/2007 9:27:16 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
PARIS (AFP) - Experts in artificial intelligence have built a computer programme that can understand simple jokes, marking an important step in making robots seem friendlier to humans, the weekly New Scientist reports.
Previous attempts at getting machines to understand humour have failed miserably, because what is funny to humans is subjective and complex -- and fiendishly difficult to programme.
But, says New Scientist, Julia Taylor and Lawrence Mazlack of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio have devised a prototype joke-detection software.
They began by loading a programme with a database of words, extracted from a children's dictionary to keep things simple, and then supplied it with examples of how the same word can have different meanings depending on the context.
When presented with a text, the programme uses that knowledge to work out how new words may relate to each other, and what they probably mean.
If it fails to find a word that matches its context, it rummages around in a digital pronunciation guide for similar-sounding words.
And if any of those words are a better fit for the rest of the sentence, the passage is flagged, ha ha, as a joke.
So far, the joke-bot only understands rather leaden puns and still delivers a blank look when facing more complex stuff or dead-pan humour.
Even so, the researchers hope it will add a kindlier touch to robots of the near-future which will act as human companions or helpers.
Here's an example of what tickles a circuit board:
- Mother to boy: "My, you've been working in the garden a lot this summer."
- Boy: "I have to, because teacher told me to work a lot" (thus a pun on working the soil and doing schoolwork).
The research, reported in next Saturday's New Scientist, was presented last week at a conference of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence in Vancouver, Canada.
A robot attempts to solve a Rubik's Cube at the trade fair grounds in Hanover, western Germany, April 2007. Experts in artificial intelligence have built a computer programme that can understand simple jokes, marking an important step in making robots seem friendlier to humans, the weekly New Scientist reports.(AFP/DDP/File/David Hecker)
Professor Jun Ho-Oh (L) of South Korea's Institute of Advanced Technology shows off his robot Albert Hubo at the Campus Party, a technology fair in Valencia, 24 July. The robot can walk, talk and smile and even practise Tai-Chi thanks to advanced technology comprised of 66 motors, most of which are situated in his head.(AFP/File/Jose Jordan)
This isn’t a good idea, I’ve seen this before...Data ends up crying in a corner while Jordie gets taken captive.
But do the Japanese understand Jon Ritter?
Just what I need, a robot that gets a joke. Microsoft’s jokes have gotten real old.
How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
Can’t be done! Hardware problem!
When they can build a programme that can understand the humor in that, then they might be on to something....
TOUGH CROWD! TOUGH CROWD!
Thanks, I’ll be here all week. ;’)
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