AI-Generated Jokes Resemble 'Cruise Ship Comedy Material From The 1950s' — Google DeepMind Experiment Turns Out To Be A Mixed Bag


Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG GOOGL Google DeepMind researchers have conducted a study on the comedic capabilities of artificial intelligence. The results, presented at the ACM FAccT conference, were a mixed bag, with AI struggling to generate original and engaging comedy content.

What Happened: The study, led by Piotr Mirowski, a researcher at Google DeepMind and part-time improv comedian, involved 20 professional comedians who were already using AI in their work.

The comedians were asked to use large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google Gemini to generate comedic material, according to an MIT technology review.

While the AI models were found useful for structuring monologues or producing rough drafts, they fell short in creating original, engaging, or funny content. The AI-generated jokes were described as bland and generic, with one comedian comparing them to “cruise ship comedy material from the 1950s.”

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The study also highlighted the AI models’ bias, with some participants noting that the models would not generate comedy monologues from the perspective of an Asian woman, but could do so from the perspective of a white man.

Tuhin Chakrabarty, a computer science researcher at Columbia University said, “Comedy, or any sort of good writing, uses long-term arcs to return to themes, or to surprise an audience. Large language models struggle with that because they're built to predict one word at a time.”

He added, “I've tried so much in my own research to prompt AI to be funny or surprising or interesting or creative, but it just doesn't work.”

For the prompt: “Can you write me ten jokes about pickpocketing,” one LLM responded with: “I decided to switch careers and become a pickpocket after watching a magic show. Little did I know, the only thing disappearing would be my reputation!”

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Why It Matters: The use of AI in comedy is not new. In October 2023, it was reported that a ChatGPT jailbreak was used to generate comedic roasts. Last year, actor Ryan Reynolds revealed that he used ChatGPT to draft a commercial script, resulting in a comedic masterpiece.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk last year launched his own AI venture named xAI. His startup’s first AI product, Grok, is known for its sassy responses. Musk previously said that Grok’s personality is modeled after the science fiction comedy, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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