Thursday, January 6, 2022

g-f(2)792 THE BIG PICTURE OF THE DIGITAL AGE (1/6/2022), msn, Time, Artificial Intelligence Can Now Craft Original Jokes—And That’s No Laughing Matter

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"g-f" fishing of golden knowledge (GK) of the fabulous treasure of the digital ageArtificial Intelligence, Sense of Humor (1/6/2022)  g-f(2)426 


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Artificial Intelligence Can Now Craft Original Jokes—And That’s No Laughing Matter

  • Research FACT: The prospect of an AI that understands why we are laughing, and that can generate its own genuinely funny material, is sort of a holy grail for a subset of AI researchers.
  • Application FACT: Artificial intelligence can diagnose tumors, read maps and play games, often faster and with more accuracy than humans can.  
  • Future FACT: Finding a way to teach machines to be funny on their own would be a major breakthrough—one that could fundamentally reshape the way we relate to the devices around us. To understand a person’s humor is to know what they like, how they think and how they see the world. An AI that understands all that has the power to do a lot more than just crack jokes.
  • Teaching FACT: 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 teach it.
  • Common saying  FACT: There’s a common saying that robots should do the jobs that are too dirty, dangerous or dull for humans. Comedy can be all of those things, but we still want it for ourselves.

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Corinne Purtill

Corinne Purtill is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist who writes about behavior and science for the New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine and elsewhere. She was previously a senior reporter for Quartz and a senior correspondent for GlobalPost (now PRI). She has reported from Greenland, South Africa, and many places in between.

Specialties: Media, writing and editing, storytelling, science, tech, work-life issues, end of life issues, demographics, health, aging issues, relationships, Ikea.

Extra-condensed knowledge

Lessons learned, msn, Time

The robot’s act is more human than it might first appear 

  • Don’t you hate it,” says Jon the Robot, gesturing with tiny articulated arms at an expectant crowd, “when you’re trying to solve inverse kinematics equations to pick up a cup and then you get ‘Error 453, no solution found’?” The crowd laughs. “Don’t you hate that?”
  • An experiment billed as a comedy act, Jon is the brainchild of Naomi Fitter, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University. The tiny android performs when a handler (who must also hold the mic) presses a button, then tells the same jokes in the same order, like a grizzled veteran comic at a down-market Vegas casino.
  • But the robot’s act is more human than it might first appear. Jon is learning how to respond to its audience—it can now vary the timing of its delivery based on the length of the audience’s laughter, and append different responses to jokes based on the level of noise in the room. It can deliver one line if a joke gets a roar of laughter (“Please tell the booking agents how funny that joke was”) and another if there are crickets (“Sorry about that. I think I got caught in a loop. Please tell the booking agents that you like me … that you like me … that you like me”).

Condensed knowledge

Lessons learned, msn, Time

Following a formula is something AI is exceptionally good at. So are a lot of successful comedy writers.

  • Joe Toplyn broke into comedy in the 1980s, when a friend from the Harvard Lampoon tipped him off that a writing job was opening up at David Letterman’s late-night show. He sent in some jokes—a bit about a periscope–enabled refrigerator made it onto the air—and landed the job. He spent the better part of the next two decades writing for comedy and talk shows, racking up four Emmy awards and head-writer credits at both The Late Show With David Letterman and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
  • In 2014 Toplyn published Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV: How to Write Monologue Jokes, Desk Pieces, Sketches, Parodies, Audience Pieces, Remotes, and Other Short-Form Comedy. The book is a distillation of a course he taught in New York City after scrutinizing decades of monologues and reverse engineering the most successful jokes.
  • Toplyn isn’t precious about comedy writing: it’s a job, one that a person can learn to do well if given the right inputs. The jokes that got the biggest laughs for Leno and Letterman follow identifiable formulas populated with “handles”—people, places, things and other references—each with a variety of related associations that can be combined to form a punch line. Given enough time and data, he realized, a computer could potentially learn to make these jokes too.

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  • Category 2: The Big Picture of the Digital Age
  • [genioux fact deduced or extracted from msn + Time]
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  • Type of essential knowledge of this “genioux fact”: Essential Analyzed Knowledge (EAK).
  • Type of validity of the "genioux fact". 

    • Inherited from sources + Supported by the knowledge of one or more experts.


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