by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 12th 2007 8:42am
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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