Artificial-intelligence researchers have made vast strides recently in matching various human capabilities. But for the moment, humor looks beyond their reach.
In recent months, artificial-intelligence researchers have made giant strides in matching human performance in all kind of tasks that had, until recently, been thought of as almost impossible for computers. Things like face and object recognition, for example.
But there are some areas that are still hugely difficult for machines to grasp, and humor is one of them. Having a sense of humor is a uniquely personal quality that is famously difficult to define. What makes one person laugh and another grimace can be almost impossible to predict.
That’s partly because humor depends on so many parameters, many of which are internal and liable to change from one moment to the next. What seems funny now may not seem so funny later or tomorrow.
Nevertheless, various linguists and psychologists have suggested that good jokes all share common properties and that a systematic analysis ought to reveal them. The question is how to get at these primitives of humor and whether machine learning can help.
Today, we get an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Dragomir Radev at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a few pals at Yahoo Labs, Columbia University, and the New Yorkermagazine. These guys have been studying the captions associated with cartoons.
Read all about it here.