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  • Writer's pictureFrank T Bird

How Funny Is Your Robot?

Can AI write comedy? I Took on AI in a Writing Contest

AI robot doing stand up comedy

My Mate Ken reckons AI can write better than me.

The little bastards are coming for all of our writing jobs, Ken says over Zoom with a mouthful of egg sandwich.

So we set a task. His robot Archibald or whatever is going to write an article. So am I. We are going to compare them.

I've heard about AI writers for a while, but I tell Ken it's impossible for one reason.

Robots just aren't funny.

So Ken tells me to go off and Google AI robots being funny. He reckons I would be surprised. I did Google it. I found an article entitled:

Here is a list of the side-splitting jokes pumped out by the robot:

  • “What do you call a cat does it take to screw in a light bulb? They could worry the banana.”

  • “What did the new ants say after a dog? It was a pirate.”

  • “Why did the monsters change a lightbulb? And a cow the cough.”

  • “What do you call a pastor cross the road? He take the chicken.”

  • “What do you call a farts of tea? He was calling the game of the dry.”

Look, don't get me wrong. If I was still the type of guy who likes to stick his mush on a glass pipe and suck in the grey vapour that comes off sticky buds then I might be rolling around on the floor in stitches right now.

But I wouldn't say these jokes are funny. I think deranged is a better word. Either that, or the jokes are just so far out that I am intellectually incapable of working them out. Besides, jokes aren’t comedy. They are formal humour. Actual jokes for me don't work. I hate jokes.

Here is another delight — a stand-up routine written by a robot:

Now, let me get grumpy for a minute.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find this whole ‘AI will soon outperform humans’ thing boring and annoying?

I’m not saying that out of fear. I just think, what is the advantage of training AI to be funnier than humans?

Is it so when The Great Alamazog finally crushes the human race, he/she/they can do it with a witty quip like Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than a depressing put-down?

Will that make us feel better about being dominated by an advanced Casio watch?

I can think of several good uses for AI, but comedy is not one of them:

  • A vibrator that records statistics like a Fitbit.

  • A drink that gives you a motivational speech while you drink it

  • A toilet that wipes your butt for you while asking you about your day.

Do we want to kill every endeavour that the human race has ever had? Why are we doing this to ourselves? It’s like we are setting criteria for art and then testing how far we can train a computer to outdo us at it.

Does anyone else think humans are just fucking dicks right now?

And yes, I do realise that in the year 2040, this article could seem like some right-wing anti-robot propaganda.

I didn’t mean it, Alamazog. Please forgive me.

When it comes to comedy, there are just some funny things that a robot cant understand: Like the time Ken got hit in the dick by a high-speed stone while brush cutting. Whenever I need a good laugh, that’s what I think of.

Can we teach dick pain humour to AI? Or would we end up being repeatedly whacked in the goolies while a robot laughs at us? The other thing is robots can’t write about the human experience.

They can’t write what it feels like to be Mustafa the falafel guy, Joe the grocer, or Johnny who got his balls blown off serving in Iraq.

A robot can write from the perspective of a robot. In the future, there will be robot fiction. But, they can't write human experience because they aren’t human.

Again this sounds like Nazi propaganda against robots. It isn’t.

Look, I just think there will always be a place for human writers. But I’m not saying that out of fear.

If I’m honest, I will happily roll the dice on any intelligent robot over the vacuous apes running the world right now because anything is better, and I, like many people, am just wishing for a goddamn miracle in the form of a benevolent alien dictator ala Childhoods End.

We anxiously await your arrival Great Alamazog.

Here is Ken’s robot’s article:

The Mainly Incomplete Guide to AI Comedy Writing and How it Will Change the Way We Create Humor

Introduction: What is AI Comedy Writing?

A lot of people think that writing comedy is difficult and most people don’t even bother with it. Doing it well is an art form and very difficult to master. It used to be that only humans could write comedy. But now, with the dubious miracle of AI software, anyone can write their own comedy screenplay or screenplay in just seconds! Or even quicker! no, only kidding. It really does take at least a few seconds. Some of the most popular uses for AI in comedy are generating jokes and stand-up material for comedians without having to think about what they’re saying. Others use the software in order to generate funny topics for their blogs or podcasts. And yet others use it as a tool for entertainment purposes — by generating funny endings for horror movies or coming up with funny plot twists in video games like Pokémon GO.

How AI Comedy Writers are Taking Over TV Shows & Movies

AI-powered comedy writers have taken over television shows and movies with their absurd and sometimes incomprehensible jokes, which has left some people wondering if their humor will be enough to sustain them. Netflix is producing a new show called “Neo Yokio” which will be written by an AI comedy writer. They are competing with the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and others who have been working on developing their own AI comedy writers for quite some time now. In the past, Amy Poehler(a funny, actual person) had to contend with the “Hollywood joke machine” — a team of talented but underpaid writers who churned out joke after lame joke for sitcoms and late night talk shows. Today’s comedy routines are not nearly as prone to controversy,as they are often crafted by AI powered writers. These synthetic writing assistants can identify and flag any potentially offensive language or phrases before they are ever published. Some would say that less controversy equals less actual humour. And I tend to agree here. But this can't be blamed on the writing assistants because they merely take their marching orders from their politically correct corporate masters.

What are the Advantages of Using an AI Comedy Writer?

A lot of humans find it difficult to write comedy. If you don’t believe me then try and write some. It takes a special skill and a sense of humor to be able to do it well. And this is where AI comedy writers come in handy. They can take your script and rewrite it in a way that makes people laugh and keeps them interested so they don’t get bored and switch off. Artificial Intelligence powered writers can provide you with a witty, humorous story that draws your audience in, rather than driving them away as the sentence above probably did. They are able to learn from what they have written in the past, and continuously improve their writing over time.

What are the Disadvantages of Using an AI Comedy Writer?

There are unfortunately disadvantages to using an AI comedy writer. One such disadvantage is that it will never understand the nuances of comedic timing. Another disadvantage of AI assistants is that it’s possible they might not detect when things are getting actually offensive. Human comedians can make this mistake too but they come equipped with a cultural intelligence that just isn’t there with AI . Excluding offensive words is easy but excluding offensive ideas is far trickier. It may well be the case that this is i,proved over time but for the time being “reading the crowd” is the very much still in the province of organic comedy writers.

Conclusion: How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the World of Humor

Artificial intelligence is not only able to make us laugh, but it can also make us happy. AI was able to create a funny joke in real-time by analyzing the most popular jokes. Artificial Intelligence is changing the world of humor, but not necessarily in the way that you would expect. AI has been used to create comedic monologues and dialogues for decades now. Some examples of AI humor include chatbots that can be used for customer service by answering common questions, or even creating canned responses that are more natural than something a human would say. Its confronting to think a constructed, algorithm-based mind may be able to re-produce something as magical as comedy. But while people still want to laugh at stuff, we stop wanting to improve that and part of that is AI.


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