Scientists at the University of Edinburgh thought they had a brilliant idea. Could they turn a computer into a witty comic?
They wrote a software program that mimics the most basic form of humour, the one-liner, reports the Telegraph’s Richard Grey.
The software program taught the computer how to create one-liners by pairing a statement with a surprising follow-up comment.
They were hoping for a silicon Steven Wright with jokes like: “All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand.
Or even an old-school comic like Tommy Cooper: “She’s always smiling. She’s the only girl I know whose teeth are sunburned.”
Instead they invented a sexist pig who spewed out jokes like this: “I like my women like I like my gas … natural.”
And this … “I like my men like I like my court … superior.”
And this … “I like my women like I like my camera … ready to flash.”
One of the scientists, David Matthews, said volunteers laughed when they heard the PC’s un-PC jokes, but not as much as they laughed at man-made jokes. He concluded that in order to really develop a computer’s sense of humour, the software would need to develop cultural awareness.
Steven Wright maybe has some advice for that: “Support bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.”