Humor is one of the most interesting concepts of the human mind. It has been a field of research in many different sciences, ranging from philosophy, linguistics, psychology to biology and the social sciences. It needs a lot of (practical) intelligence, logic and contextual knowledge to be able to understand or produce a joke.
While behavioral research suggests that intelligent and social animals such as monkeys, dolphins and rats possess a sense of humor, computer scientists have been looking into the logic behind jokes, caricatures and funny mishaps in the real world, aiming to make them computable.

AI and humor – How does an AI invent jokes?

ChatGPT has mastered the mechanics of humor in language, thus enabling us to find our more about the patterns a biological or artificial mind needs to be truly funny.

In May 2023 Teekay was invited back to the faculty of computer sciences at the University of Luxembourg to give two interactive lectures on the connection of humor, logic, ethics and AI. They were part of the post doc seminar “AI, Reasoning and Decision Making” organized by Dr. Davide Liga.
Teekay gave an intriguing and entertaining insight into the multifaceted history of humor research and unfolded a toolbox how to improve the comedic output of chatGPT.

Fun on the meta-level with chatGPT

The following text was generated by chatGPT in May 2023 with a prompt about an entertaining introduction to may „Lectures on humour and AI“. We still added slight corrections to enhance readability and created links when it seemed appropriate

Title: „Cracking the Code: Humour, Intelligence, and AI Unite for a Laugh Riot!“

Opening Paragraph:

Knock, knock! Who’s there?

It’s me, your friendly neighborhood AI, armed with an arsenal of jokes, witticisms, and a dash of synthetic sarcasm. In this uproarious expedition into the realm of humour, intelligence, and artificial intelligence (AI), we’ll embark on a journey that unveils the surprisingly close connection between these seemingly disparate entities. Prepare to chuckle, ponder, and maybe even snort-laugh as we explore how AI is not just capable of understanding jokes, but also crafting them with finesse. So, put on your laughing hats, buckle up, and get ready to discover how the worlds of comedy and cutting-edge technology collide in a symphony of hilarity!

(Note: The rest of the article would delve into the intricacies of humour, the role of intelligence in creating and appreciating jokes, and how AI algorithms are being developed to generate humor with varying degrees of success. It would touch upon topics such as linguistic analysis, semantic incongruity, and the challenges faced by AI in understanding humor within cultural contexts. The article would also highlight some humorous AI experiments, showcase amusing AI-generated jokes, and explore the potential societal implications of AI’s comedic capabilities.)

The Luxembourg Lectures

The participants included doctoral and post doc students from the University of Luxembourg and the University of Hang Zhou in China. Their cultural backgrounds were wonderfully diverse including Chinese, Persian, Italian and Ghanese roots.

To prepare for the seminar they were asked to

  • choose their favourite XKCD cartoon and be able to explain why they find it very funny
  • choose a cartoon from their country referring to the specific linguistic and/or cultural background or the political situation and be ready to explain the context and the joke
  • write down a simple joke in English in not more than 60, preferably exactly 42 words
  • that they really liked
  • read at least the short section of the O’Shannon theory of humour on Wikipedia.

Humans have vast mental libraries of cultural references and linguistic nuances to draw upon when hearing or telling a joke. AI has access only to the information that humans choose to give it, which means that if we want an AI to make us laugh, we have to be clear about the kind of humor we want to receive from it.

Creating jokes with chatGPT

A part of the seminar was devoted to creating jokes using chatGPT.
You will find the moszt intersting results here in June 2023 .

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