Teaching AI to tell jokes is one of the hardest challenges in AI research. Humor is a very difficult skill to acquire for humans, let alone AI systems. AI algorithms are very good at detecting patterns and performing predictable actions. However, when it comes to mimicking human thinking and behavior, AI bots simply aren’t up to the task.
AI humor — the final frontier
At first sight, a humorous robot may not be of great help. However, such a skill would help make the human-machine interaction smoother, put people at ease and create rapport. In the future, humans are going to be interacting with machines more and more. Smart devices will be everywhere, from the AI fridge in our kitchen to the smart coffee machine from the office. Funny artificial intelligence systems can help humans trust machines.
If you’ve seen the movie Interstellar, you might remember TARS. In one scene, he joked suggesting that the astronauts he accompanied would make great human slaves on his robot colony. After this strange joke, his humor setting was set down from 100% to 75%.
Computer humor will also be a solid proof of intelligence. A machine able to tell jokes is self-aware, empathic, spontaneous, and masters linguistic subtlety very well. At the same time, it also has a very good understanding of its environment.
AI machines need to be funny in order to be fully integrated into human culture. Many researchers are developing joke-telling robots or building joke generators. Of course, these tools are very limited.
Human-level humor is decades away
So, when will AI robots be able to entertain us with their jokes? Experts agree that this achievement is decades away. Humor, alongside recognizing and mimicking human emotion, are the most difficult problems in AI. It requires a human-like level of intelligence.
Moreover, there are also sociological challenges as humor differs from culture to culture, and from person to person. Only when AI will be able to understand the user it’s interacting with and mold its knowledge of the world on the context, will computers be truly funny.
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll attend stand-up comedy shows starring AI robots.
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