Can You Teach Computers To Understand Knock-Knock Jokes?

from the knock-knock dept

We were just discussing how difficult it is for computers to handle certain types of tasks, that are often much better suited for human intelligence. However, that won't stop some from trying to program computers to do all sorts of things, with the latest such effort focused on teaching a computer to understand knock-knock jokes. Knock-knock jokes, of course, are usually based on puns, that involve recognizing how a word is being misused for the sake of humor. It's easy (if groan-inducing) for humans, but extremely difficult for computers. The idea, it seems, is that figuring out how to teach computers to understand humor could go a long way in figuring out ways to program stronger artificial intelligence. At least that's the theory. Of course, this isn't the first time we've talked about computers and their senses of humor. Back in 2001, when some researchers set up a program to pull a Monty Python and find the world's funniest joke -- for a long time, the leading entry was written by a computer (though, eventually the computer-written joke was eclipsed by a human-written joke).


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  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 8:49am

    Culture Specific

    As multilingual people know, humor tends to be very culture-specific. I bet it would be harder to explain a knock-knock joke to a Chinese or Japanese speaker than to a computer.

    Many jokes that are extremely funny to Americans make no sense, even to other English speakers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Buzz, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 9:22am

    I'll write the other end.

    public class JokeResponse
    {
    ___public static void main(String[] args)
    ___{
    ______new JokeResponse().go();
    ___}

    ___public void go()
    ___{
    ______while (1) System.out.println("ha");
    ___}
    }

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    ibmihs, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 9:48am

    Don't forget that

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    skwash, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    I'm going to patent the concept of teaching computers to understand knock-knock jokes! Better yet, how about I just patent the process of telling a knock-knock joke!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 10:31am

    I actually laughed...

    I like the computer generated joke: "What kind of murderer has moral fibre? a cereal killer." It got a laugh around the office, so I think it's possible to teach a computer humor to some degree.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    matt, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 10:36am

    I doubt this one is difficult, I think it'd be harder to create a psychoanalytical computer than one that can essentially put together a simple sentence structure:

    aka knock knock
    who's there
    x
    x y?
    x z
    correlated x/y/z.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 10:43am

    "Knock knock!"

    "Who's there?"

    "9/11"

    "9/11 who?"

    "I THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER FORGET!"

    "I don't get it."

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 10:58am

    Started fallowing the links...

    Not an easy task since most sites outside of techdirt don't keep their files as far back as 2001 but I found the worlds funniest joke.

    A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator, in a calm soothing voice, says: "Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?"

    I was hoping for a Monty Python thing where I read it and had a heart attack.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Name, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 11:32am

    Re:

    Get off your patent tirades. It's not funny.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 11:41am

    You forgot...

    Who cares?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    James, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 11:57am

    Easy

    Computer prompts the user, "How do you keep a moron waiting?", user clicks on prompt and computer maxes CPU utilization to 100%.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 12:20pm

    There is no such thing as the world's funniest joke, because everybody has a different sense of humor. Many things may be outright hilarious to one person and downright boring to another. There is no "absolute" type of funny.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Robert, Sep 12th, 2007 @ 1:00pm

    Re:

    There is no such thing as the world's funniest joke, because everybody has a different sense of humor. Many things may be outright hilarious to one person and downright boring to another. There is no "absolute" type of funny.

    That's the point... dufus.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    mike allen, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 3:21am

    lateral thinking

    Of course they want computers to have a sense of humor So come the machine wars robot V humans due around 2050 they can laugh as they kill us

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 4:14pm

    CAN A COMPUTER BE TRAINED TO UNDERSTAND HUMAN EMOTION

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    jim, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 4:20am

    Re:

    There is no such thing as the world's funniest joke, because everybody has a different sense of humor. Many things may be outright hilarious to one person and downright boring to another. There is no "absolute" type laptop AC adapter of funny.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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