What we were thinking: The Enigma Stolen #5 of the Enigma Book Series-
Author Insight –
Can a supercomputer learn humor?
The supercomputer, ICABOD, is a study in technology evolution, which its creator, Quip, has expanded on with different capabilities and AI attributes.
The idea of learning humor, quite honestly, came about because Burkey wanted to learn humor. As this subject was addressed and analyzed, it may be true that timing and delivery of humor is better in some people rather than others.
What kind of humor resonates with you? What do you think is funny versus a coworker, friend, family member? Is it the timing, delivery, visuals, or simply the individual? Can a supercomputer be programmed to delivery humor or will that be one of the few things a computer cannot learn?
Excerpt-The Enigma Stolen
ICABOD asked, “Dr. Quip, can you explain humor to this computer? It is a most difficult concept as it uses ambiguity but appears to deal only with truths. There is so much information and examples on the subject but almost nothing on how or exactly why it is accomplished. Humor and the ensuing activity of laughter is most intriguing and apparently unique to humans. For instance, you, Dr. Quip, appear to have mastered the art of humor, judging from your interactions with the other team-mates. Can you explain how the programming for this undefined ability is accomplished?”
Quip blinked several times as he gathered his thoughts, then responded, “Why do you ask such difficult questions of me before my third cup of coffee? If you are asking me to program you with a sense of humor, I don’t have a clue about how that would be done. I can point you to my vast inventory of humor, mirth, and hilarious anecdotes, but that is just reading funny not being funny.
“I can tell you that humor is a very effective tool for humans to use when they are dealing with psychological stress. It can also help defuse difficult or anxious situations so as to be more easily dealt with. You will note that in some of our stressful programming scenarios I have used humor to make the situation more manageable for the participants.”
ICABOD replied, “This activity of yours has been observed. But how do you know when to invoke those double entendre statements with half of the interpretation grounded in a sexual reference? Does the listener need to have sexual attributes to comprehend the humor aspect?”
Quip blinked a few more times and, somewhat taken aback, replied, “ICABOD, you should understand that humor only works if you have a frame of reference for the discussion content. If not, the ambiguity of a humorous statement cannot be delivered with an impact.
“For example, much of what is funny in one culture simply does not translate to another culture or country. Comedy and humor is very much region specific because you need that background for the ambiguity to generate laughter. Humor is often generation or time specific. Humor for one generation of a period in history may simply not fit into the psychological makeup of another. Even gender specific differences can occur, so that the humor in a group of males is quite different from that of females, with a mixed audience even more different.
“My preference for double entendre with sexual references tends to translate very well across generations, countries, and genders. Thus, it tends to have the most universal appeal and relevance for the audiences I encounter. Plus the fact that it’s naughty, which makes it more fun. Uh, do we need to have a discussion on the concept of naughty too? I have lots of digital and hard copy examples in this regard and would be happy to view them, I mean, discuss them with you to improve your understanding in that area. This month’s edition has some great examples for discussion of naughty.”
ICABOD appeared to be processing the response when suddenly he alerted, “Dr. Quip, the sensors at this computer’s perimeter indicate a breach effort in progress.