Perhaps one of the most complex pieces to the human puzzle is our sense of humor. A sense of humor not only involves intelligence and comprehension but also an array of emotions. It is not enough to just understand something humorous, but it is also necessary that an emotional and physiological response be able to occur for a person to have a sense of humor. However, though there is much involved in ”getting” a joke, there are even more factors involved in telling a joke(Ziv 27). This is, unfortunately, an oversimplified explanation of what a sense of humor entails, as many people have their own opinion about what a sense of humor is.
It is possible that we may be able to measure the level of humor a joke has. It would seem that the greater the positive reaction a joke can evoke and the larger the amount of people it effects, the funnier a joke is. Conceivably then, it can be said that though it may not be all too difficult to create a joke, creating a really good joke requires much more capability. Now that there is some establishment of what a sense of humor is, the next question is, can a sense of humor be taught? To a human, perhaps it can be, but whether a good sense of humor can be taught to a computer is doubtful. Where our technology lies today there is little chance of computers replicating true human emotion(Beale 45).
As our world simultaneously shrinks and expands through the growing abilities and applications of computers in our everyday lives, it seems that the role of the computer has been reversed. Before we knew that the computer only understood what we programmed it to understand; however, now the majority of our society is learning more from computers than they are able to input into it. As stated, it only seems that the roles are being reversed, because somewhere far down at the beginning of the line someone is programming the computer. However, a transition is occurring among computer programmers, as they attempt to create machines that learn rather than machines that must be programmed. It has become the hope of many engineers that the mechanisms of human thought could be precisely modeled and simulated on a computer.
This is known as Artificial Intelligence(Artificial 3). Artificial Intelligence, or AI, since its conception, has grown from a dozen researchers, to thousands of engineers and specialists; from programs capable of playing checkers, to systems designed to diagnose disease(Dumm 4). With all that the computer is learning now a new question arises: How long before a computer can learn to understand and execute the attributes of a good sense of humor? It is believed that the theory of AI has existed long before recorded, but was not made conceivable until the invention of the electronic computer in 1941(Dreyfus 6). Since then many scientists and engineers have been working on a way to make the computer more human. Once it was noticed that the computer could perform simple tasks such as mathematical problems and memory recall much faster than humans the idea began that they should become more like us(Beale 2).
However after almost sixty years scientists have still not been able to create AI in the sense that they had hoped. Even the Intelligence that they have given computers, which at the time was considered a triumph in reaching towards AI, is no longer considered valid(Kurzweil 14-16). This includes such simple machines as intelligent chess boards and other programs for elementary games. In the mid 1960”s, however, Marvin Minsky created and interactive computer program that many believed to be Artificial Intelligence. Though Minsky was even doubtful of his achievement another scientist, Joseph Weizenbaum, quickly stepped forward with an even stronger representation of AI.
This new program was called Eliza and was able to imitate a nondirective therapist. This form of AI was extremely believable to those who tested it, but Weizenbaum promptly explained the simplicity of his program. He then pointed out the directions and commands the program used to fake comprehension(Dreyfuss 69-72). Weizenbaum proved through his contest that both his and Minsky”s programs were
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