back to article Experts build AI joke machine that's about as funny as an Adam Sandler movie (that bad)

Researchers in Japan have tried to build an artificially intelligent system to make people laugh – but, surprise, surprise, the jokes it told were terrible. The “Neural Joking Machine” (NJM) was created by computer scientists from Tokyo Denki University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology …

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やっぱり

親父ギャグばかりだ。

(こんな生真面目な突っ込みには、すまんね。けど、あんなにボケって、何て…)

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Re: やっぱり

That's easy for you to say.

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Re: やっぱり

ノックノックジョークやバスト

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FAIL

Major Overreach

If I were them, I would try to learn to walk before attempting to climb the north face of Mount Everest.

Humour requires to understand humans and their social conventions. It's the unexpectedness of the statement which strikes us as funny, and an AI can't possibly know what is considered as "expected" by humans. Today, in 2018, AIs are good at processing data, not at understanding it.

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Re: Major Overreach

I am not sure I agree with this sentiment.

Surely it's very important for the machines to have some sort of one-liner as they gun the last of the humans down.

Can't just have them all intoning "I'll be back".

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Re: Major Overreach

Walk? Artificial Idiocy has begun to crawl yet.

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Re: Major Overreach

Yeah... I'm not so sure. It seems to me that AI should be able to take a reasonable stab at what's "expected" by humans, if someone takes the trouble to train it on a relevant data set.

My phone's keyboard software is pretty good at guessing what I'm going to type. Rudimentary, of course, but for such a tiny and limited system using essentially zero resources, it's impressive.

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Re: Major Overreach

@veti. Really ? All my devices predictive suggestions manage to be wrong most of the time. I wish the smart devices would just shut up. Perhaps you have a let unpredicatble vocabulary. No offense intended as I use a few specialist acronyms for uncommon activities. DYAC site best describes my attitude. As for AI jokes, given that most supposedly intelligent humans suffer from an inability to discern good humour, I am sure artificial stupidity will be just fine in merkin mass media.

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Re: Major Overreach

Some forms of computer generated humor are trivial.

For example, most proverbs have two logical components - a premise and a conclusion. Split them and run a random generator to match the parts. We did that in high school in 1984. Some of the products of that experiment are still doing the rounds in the country where that was done.

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Re: Major Overreach

Can't just have them all intoning "I'll be back".

"I hear covfefe", does that count? Ain't no AI but rather a NU* one-liner though. Kind of funny, nevertheless.

*Natural Unintelligence

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Re: Major Overreach

I wish the smart devices would just shut up. Perhaps you have a let unpredicatble vocabulary.

In your typos right there you almost invented the word 'unpredicateable', which would have been quite fitting.

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Re: Major Overreach

"If I were them, I would try to learn to walk before attempting to climb the north face of Mount Everest."

While it does seem a herculean task , nobody said AI would be easy . Voice recognition and playing chess just dosent cut it. You're virtually creating life. I'd say the 20 odd % success rate mentioned in the article is a win!

Its a good test of AI is what i'm saying , maybe we're not ready yet as you say.

After all - it was this very concept of humour test that finally convinced the scientist that:

Johhny5 is ALIVE!

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"AIs are good at processing data, not at understanding it."

Well thats not an AI then is it?

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Re: Major Overreach

> Well thats not an AI then is it?

It depends on who you ask, a scientist or a marketing person...

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Big Brother

Re: Major Overreach

Since we meatsacks can't tell what is funny and what is not, how can we expect a machine to be able to - can we even judge if the machine is funny nor not? Maybe it is but we just don't get it.

Try telling a mother-in-law joke, or almost anything by Frank Carson, Jim Davidson or any other comic from the 70s and 80s and see how long it takes the Politically Correct mob to start baying for your blood...

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Re: Major Overreach

Almost all public facing AI today is a major overreach for marketing hype, a good example is self-driving cars.

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Oberleutnant Waldheim

"Can't just have them all intoning "I'll be back"."

Only the violent, gun-loving, Austrian ones do that. They will then forget that anything ever happened. The calm, quiet, civilized, American ones will merely tell you that they're sorry, they can't let you back inside. Less mess that way. (Unless the American ones are from Detroit. Then you'll have 20 seconds to comply.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Major Overreach

@10 hrs Prst. V.Jeltz

Is it really AI though or just shuffling enough words into an order that might make sense and those from a specific set of phrases? For instance, if the AI device had never seen a Terminator movie, but there were quite a few phrases from those movie that are funny in the context of the pictures would it be machine learning that understood why those were funny and when to use them?

I'm not saying that these aren't advancements, but I think we're a long way from machine intelligence.

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Re: Major Overreach

Rich, a case in point. Despite me setting locale correctly, smart web browsers often correct Oz spelling and leaves mistakes alone. QED. Being loaded on medication after surgery does not help, but if smart things were, the typos would not have happened.

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Re: Major Overreach

I wish my phone keyboard would stop trying to automatically learn from my typos and let me configure rules for autocorrect.

The number of times I type "tge" instead of "the" - and this using swipe based input.

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Start it off with an easier challenge

I reckon it'd have done better if it was compared against captions generated by Register commentators. It can't do much worse than 4 decade old Monty Python routines repeated ad infinitum, or a Cancy McCancerFace joke that the rest of the world realised was mildly amusing on first discovery, then halved in mirth value after every repetition.

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Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

An AI to interpret amanfromMars first please

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Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

I've seen better stuff from a random phrase generator. Come to think of it, that's what most of the AI output has been like. Perhaps what we've really found is a completely different way of implementing random data generation based on an input data set.

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Start IT off with an easier challenge ... Once upon a Time in a Land Long Ago Forgotten

I've seen better stuff from a random phrase generator. .... Brian Miller

Is that better stuff in response to nonsensical random phrase generation, BM? And can it also support arrogance and ignorance with the Gifting of IT Opportunities to provide them with the utility and facilities, if not the necessary ability, to reply sublimely and surreally and move markets to new leading positions/stellar heights/monumental depths?

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Joke

Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

"Monty Python"? Is that a Python module that yells "Monty you're a terrible c***" at random?

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Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

""Monty Python"? Is that a Python module that yells "Monty you're a terrible c***" at random?'

No, it's a Python module for running the Monty Hall problem.

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Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

Yes, but re-runs of Monty Python might work for the UK and the USA markets and (surprisingly) for the Germans, but it is almost completely lost on much of the rest of the planet.

Then again, I am not at all sure what constitutes humour in Japan.

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Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

I love the implied "half-life of humour". I think that is why most knock knock jokes are entirely devoid of humour as one hears more of them more times.

There is also a music half-life.

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Re: Start it off with an easier challenge

I love the implied "half-life of humour". I think that is why most knock knock jokes are entirely devoid of humour as one hears more of them more times.

I beg to differ. Most knock-knock jokes are as topical now as they ever were, because most of them are not topical.

Knock-knock jokes becoming unfunny as you encounter more of them is more likely down to Information Theory: the information content of a message is related to its surprise value. Once you've heard enough knock-knock jokes you can often predict the punch line.

I find the same thing happens with sitcoms, except they get stale faster for me than for most people. I become bored with them long before everyone else does. When I was young two series was enough for me before they degenerated into (seemingly) nothing but predictable punch-lines. As I aged I became better at predicting content of new sitcoms because the underlying format was so familiar. I watched every episode of Friends by watching one episode.

The same thing can happen with other comedy formats (at this point I predict most of those who upvoted me based on what I wrote so far will change it to a downvote). I watched everything Reeves and Mortimer ever did, and ever will do, in 10 minutes. "You wouldn't let it lie." Frying pan to face. "You wouldn't let it lie." Frying pan to face. Repeat ad infinitum.

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Re: what constitutes humour in Japan.

Japanese humour is mostly to do with humiliation. So pushing sticks up pompous peoples' bums is very popular, as is burning nipples with magnifying glasses.

It's a brave new word, alright.

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Coat

The PC Brigade Sub-Routine

Given that Adam Sandlers humour tends to need a politically incorrect comment or act to get a laugh at perhaps it had a subroutine called NINJA

No Insensitive Nasty Jokes Adam.

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Re: The PC Brigade Sub-Routine

Sandler is funny ? News to most of us I suspect.

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Re: The PC Brigade Sub-Routine

He is to many of those under the age of 10, I think, but that may be pushing things a bit.

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Thumb Up

GIGO indeed!

The post is required, and must contain letters! Yay!

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Boredom

So they have discovered boredom! Where any sandwiches involved?

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Facepalm

I'm So Pleased That Brits Recognize Adam Sandler Has Not Talent

As for "AI", artificial intelligence, at this time it remains HypeHypeHype. What we have are advanced expert systems, built upon technology that's been evolving for half a century and still hasn't reached any level of actual intelligence.

What's made expert systems seem sort of intelligent are the improvements in speech recognition and text to speech technology along with faster processors. I will also thank the ongoing development of 'machine learning'. Meanwhile, our programming tools remain primitive and unreliable. Our software security record is abysmal. The ongoing fad of IoT, Internet of Trash, is more a detriment to our collective lives than a benefit specifically due to it having no inherent security with only hints at a security standard on the horizon. We're all becoming victims of marketing SellSellSell of JunkJunkJunk.

Let's get down to some serious work please and grow our way out of the ongoing Dark Age of Computing. Please.

Meanwhile: HypeHypeHype SellSellSell *yawn*

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Re: I'm So Pleased That Brits Recognize Adam Sandler Has Not Talent

This is incorrect. Adam Sandler is a very talented man, very talented indeed. However, his talent is not for acting, at least not in the way that most people would think. No, his talent is in extracting lots of money while creating utterly unwatchable messes. He approaches Uwe Boll levels of skill for that kind of thing.

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Re: I'm So Pleased That Brits Recognize Adam Sandler Has Not Talent

Ouch. Including Uwe Boll references is way below the belt. Poor Adam, I am sure he has never made a film based upon a B-rated computer game (but I did like the first Bloodrayne though).

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Now I want someone to create the Adam Sandler Neural Network

And I am betting it would do a better job than Sandler

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Terminator

We need the Polymemetic Alloy of T-1000

As in "Babchenko is now a Meme!"

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A career in television?

> At least they were considered funny about 67.99 per cent of the time, compared to 22.59 per cent for the NJM, and just 9.41 per cent for STAIR.

That would still make either of the two machines funnier than any british sitcom that has been made in the past 10 years.

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Re: A career in television?

The emphasized part of your comment highlights one major flaw that the study has, which is that STAIR results were translated from English before the Japanese public rated them against NJM. Of course it did worse - jokes almost never survive translation especially not between cultures as different as European and Asian. Even within Europe, jokes often need supplemental information before the viewer realises it should be humorous. Mistranslations are often far funnier than the mot juste.

Of course they could have done it deliberately to show they were on the right track and raise more funding for their study. But maybe that is just me being a cynic.

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Re: A career in television?

That would still make either of the two machines funnier than any british sitcom that has been made in the past 10 years.

Funnier than Outnumbered? Funnier than Bad Education? Anyway, each to their own.

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Re: A career in television?

Spot on JassMan. I was wondering about that part.

After having to learn several languages while meandering around the globe, I've only ever considered having a decent grasp of the local language, when I could actually not just understand what was being said, but able to understand the jokes, with all the local contexts, and laugh about it.

Japanese humour is by far not the same as US, or British humour in this case.

Also, if anyone could develop an AI chatbot, that would recognise where a person was from, and then switch the conversation to match the cultural limits, and courtesy rules of that person's locale, now that would be impressive. If neigh-on impossible. Even humans seem mostly incapable of it.

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Re: A career in television?

That would still make either of the two machines funnier than any british sitcom that has been made in the past 10 years.

I was trying to think of examples to contradict you and I'm struggling to think of any...*

*Please feel free to suggest some I've missed, it's almost the weekend.

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Re: A career in television?

Stop horsing around.

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British Sitcoms

In defence of the vast superiority of British Comedy over American Comedy I give you "The IT Crowd", "The Inbetweeners" and "Shameless".

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Re: A career in television?

"Mistranslations are often far funnier than the mot juste."

I think you have stumbled across a way for getting AI to make funnier jokes, just misconfigure your AI translator.

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Re: A career in television?

> I was trying to think of examples to contradict you and I'm struggling to think of any...*

Quite. Even the examples presented fail, since most are more than 10 years old (Outnumbered started in 2007, IT crowd 2006 - neither still running) And ones that do qualify, such as Bad Education only managed less than 10 hours of telly - 19 eps of ½hour each and has since been canned.

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Re: British Sitcoms

The US version of "Shameless" is really quite good, although the first few episodes are a bit weak, being straight off copies of the UK version. Well worth a watch.

While Frank is still pretty much played for laughs, the other alcoholic characters are well written. Painfully so, if you've ever had a someone you care about suffer from it.

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Re: A career in television?

Episodes was pretty funny

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