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Funniest Computer Ever

Hey All,

I’ve just joined up.  Met Erwin at the Loebner Prize in Bletchley last week.  I’ve been tinkering with chatbots for many years on and off - finally am going to focus on them properly.  One of the things I’m doing is trying to get a computer humor contest off the ground:

We already have $345 in prize money, so we are go go go grin  I think our original target of $5000 was a tad optimistic, but maybe next year grin

If anyone’s in London we have weekly AI related meetups in Shoreditch:

And are currently in chatbot building mode!  Come join us for chats grin



  [ # 1 ]

Funniest computer… novel idea.  I like it!  I wrote an automated ‘madlib engine’ 20 years ago that made people laugh so hard our stomaches were sore in the morning.


  [ # 2 ]

I love this stuff Sam! Why don’t you post some examples of computer humor over heard and/or on your project website? You/we can also tweet about it. I’ve sure people will love it!


  [ # 3 ]

Victor - “Madlib engine” sounds very cool.  Any chance of resurrecting it to enter in the improv section of our contest?

Erwin, yes!  Computer humor examples.  The current example I am doing to death is the following pun:

“What do you call a spicy missile?” ....................... “a hot shot!”

I do have another website on Google sites that we are using to organize things:

and there is a facebook page:

actually we need to work out what the best platform for collaboration is here.  Facebook doesn’t really allow us to customize so much and Google Sites has lots of barriers to entry, such as a complex setup/login process.

Anyway, I’ll start posting more examples ...!



  [ # 4 ]

what are your requirements Sam? I might be able to help you as well. would be happy to host a computer humor forum!


  [ # 5 ]

Hi Sam,
What a fun idea.
I must admit, I’ve sort of been ignoring the whole ‘joke’ section for now. Maybe partly because I think it can be so hard to get right.

Than again, the format of ‘what do you call an x y? a similarOf(x) similarOf(y)’ kind of stuff should be doable with a wordnet db or something similar. Though results will probably be more surreal or just plain bizarre then funny.


  [ # 6 ]

Hey Jan,

Yes, there has been a fair amount of research based on that line of reasoning, and I think that you are right that evaluating whether the results are funny or not is maybe the biggest challenge ...

I need to try and assemble a good overview to collect up the research that has been done and improve accessibility for bot masters.

As regards the competition I am thinking along the lines of having a three stage comedy chatbot assessment that worked something like this:

Stage 1: Improv
Stage 2: Poetry
Stage 3: Freestyle

Where in stage 1 the judge would say to the chatbot, “tell me a joke related to X, Y and Z” and the chatbot would have to try to come up with an original joke.  Then in stage 2 the judge would say “tell me a funny poem about ABC”, and finally Stage 3 would consist of 5 minutes of chat in which the bot tried to be as funny as possible.  Evaluations of humour level would then come from each judge ...

Erwin: not sure if we need a separate forum.  I guess I would be tempted to make a google group at some point in order to ensure email transparency ... I usually embed google groups in google sites pages for my online classes ...



  [ # 7 ]
Sam Joseph - May 23, 2012:

Victor - “Madlib engine” sounds very cool.  Any chance of resurrecting it to enter in the improv section of our contest?

Unfortunately not, it was a long while ago—back in the DOS 4.0 days!!  In fact it was a Turbo Pascal application with the “TurboVision” framework if anyone here remembers that !  But do I ever wish I had the source code for it to reminisce.  Sad to say my oldest source code is only 2002, a chess program I wrote in C# but not sure how that fits into chatbots .... however I have considered adding basic chat to it , of course limited to chess and the current game and moves it is ‘thinking’ of making.

  Anyway, I’ve learned my lessson.. BACKUP OFTEN!!

But I am looking forward to seeing some of the output from this contest !


  [ # 8 ]

this video on Siri is funny, isn’t it:


  [ # 9 ]

I think the funniest bot contest is a terrific idea!
Finally a contest that does not have to be taken so seriously.

I’m in! wink


  [ # 10 ]

Erwin: that’s hysterical grin

Laura: Awesome - we’ll look forward to seeing your entry

Erwin: perhaps I should take you up on that offer of the computer humor forum?  Many thanks in advance

Also, are you interested in usability notes on the forums?  Is it a framework that can be modified at all - or is it kind of a black box?



  [ # 11 ]

Victor said, “But do I ever wish I had the source code for it to reminisce.”

Almost certainly, you have become a stronger programmer
over that past two decades.

I think you stand an excellent chance of recovering, at least
the basic algorithm, just from memory.

Have you considered that, Victor?


  [ # 12 ]

Absolutely, programming skill increased 100X in the last 20 years….  however, available TIME has decreased by about the same proportion :(    My current project is the most massive I have ever undertaken (2012 is year #4 !), and all ‘non day job’ and ‘non-family’ time is all given to it cool smile

Plus I’d just get such a kick out of looking at 20 year old code! LOL  a rewrite wouldn’t have that novelty.


  [ # 13 ]

That’s all well and good for you, Victor, but I have a hard time remember what code I’ve written 20 minutes ago, let alone 20 years! smile


  [ # 14 ] is my attempt at an agent that makes In Soviet Russia jokes. is Pistos’s version.

In my multi-agent system, sometimes the agent I want doesn’t respond right away, and sometimes in those cases (based on randomization and other factors) the ISRAgent’s response will be selected. And in those cases, sometimes, I’m completely surprised, and get a good laugh.

For example (from some logs):

> find corefs: A sentence is contingent if some interpretation satisifies it and some interpretation falsifies it.

In Soviet Russia, it falsifies YOU!
> find corefs: “This statement refers to the preceding statement, not to the statement it is in.”

In Soviet Russia, the statement it ‘s in refers to the preceding statement , not to YOU!
> wtf is AARP

In Soviet Russia, wtf is YOU!
> All borogoves are slithy toves.
> All slithy toves are mimsy.

In Soviet Russia, slithy toves are YOU!

Etc. In the first two, I was looking for an answer from the BART anaphora agent, but it’s slow; in the third I was talking to another bot that does acronyms; in the fourth, I was talking to the logicagent…

(Note: the isragent depends on the link grammar agent to parse subject, verb, object.)


  [ # 15 ]

Hi Robert - sorry I missed your post - that looks like a very interesting system.  Hopefully we can get it to enter the competition. 

I’ve just been working on a draft of the rules - lovingly inspired by chatbot battles:



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